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WAREHAM – An environmental safety testing lab located at 790 Main St. wants to add a 1,000-square-foot marijuana lab to the facility and company officials hosted a Zoom community outreach meeting Tuesday evening to describe the proposal.

The current Smithers facility has been located at 790 Main St. in Wareham for 51 years, said Smithers Vice President Ron Biever.

The testing that will be performed is similar to testing done to other products, like pesticides, chemicals and pharmaceuticals to determine properties and if there are any potentially harmful elements to the public.

Tests will determine potency and whether there’s a presence of heavy metals, pesticide residues, bacterial or fungal contamination or residual chemicals from the manufacturing process. Basically, it’s the same as done with food crops.

The state Cannabis Control Commission requires a number of tests for cultivators and the manufacturers of marijuana products, like edibles.

The proposed lab will be a “business-to-business” model. That is, customers will be companies in cultivation and manufacture and will not include members of the public.

Samples will be small, about 5 grams, and any residue from the testing process will be destroyed. The expectation is to process eight samples per day.

The cannabis lab will be closed to the public and to other Smithers employees not working in the marijuana-testing lab. The company expects to hire seven people to work in the testing lab over the next five years, though the facility itself will not have to be expanded. The 1,000-square-foot space for the lab is currently unused.

Biever said security systems will be upgraded to meet state regulations for cannabis facilities, including added security cameras within and without and strict security protocols.

The site is within a 500-foot buffer zone established by law to the Decas School that will have to be reduced by the town to allow the use. The proposal will be brought before a Planning Board public hearing Aug. 17 to set the stage for a Fall Town Meeting vote. The Decas School will be decommissioned by the town at the end of 2021 when the new elementary school is complete. Biever said they hope to have the lab working by April 2021.

He said there will be an average of one to four deliveries per day.

There will be no external signs indicating cannabis testing.

Biever said cannabis testing is an “evolving, emerging industry” that Smithers has the expertise to deliver.

 

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