Firm wants to open marijuana testing lab in Trafford — Western Pa.’s first |

Firm wants to open marijuana testing lab in Trafford — Western Pa.’s first

Joe Napsha
Marijuana samples at a cannabis testing laboratory in Santa Ana, Calif.

A Michigan-based firm wants to open Western Pennsylvania’s first medical marijuana testing laboratory, which would move from Clearfield to Trafford.

Lansing-based ACT Laboratories Inc. is seeking a variance from Trafford Borough to operate the lab at 109 Brinton Ave., in a building owned by Trafford Emergency Medical Services Company No. 1, according to documents filed with the Westmoreland County Recorder of Deeds.

The borough’s three-member zoning hearing board has scheduled a public hearing on the request at 7 p.m. Monday at the Trafford Borough Municipal Center, 414 Brinton Ave. That will be a continuation of the hearing that began July 1, said Adam Hlad, a Trafford code enforcement officer. The variance from the borough’s zoning regulations is necessary because a lab is not a permitted use in that zoning district, Hlad said.

David Isenga, scientific director for ACT Laboratories, which has four testing facilities in Clearfield, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, referred comments to other company officials. Other spokespersons for ACT Laboratories did not respond.

Brian Lindbloom, Trafford fire chief, could not be reached for comment. Lindbloom told borough council last month that ACT Laboratories would be using the Trafford ambulance service building. The ambulance service is a separate entity from the fire department.

The fire chief said he was told there would only be two or three employees at the facility and there would not be any “walk-up business” to have marijuana tested. The company would use the garage portion of the building for vehicles that collect the samples to be tested.

“We would never do anything to put the public at risk,” Lindbloom told council.

The state Department of Health notified ACT on July 2 that after reviewing its application to move its medical marijuana lab testing facility from Clearfield, it can proceed with constructing its facility in Trafford. ACT needs accreditation for its new location and it must be inspected before medical marijuana testing can begin, Sunny Podolak, the health department’s chief compliance officer, stated in the letter to Isenga ACT’s scientific director.

ACT Laboratories had been in Clearfield for about 18 months, said Larry Mack, Clearfield’s code enforcement officer. Mack said he is prohibited by the state Department of Labor and Industry from divulging any information about the company without written consent from the firm.

The Health Department website lists four approved medical marijuana testing labs in the state: the ACT site in Clearfield, two in Harrisburg and one in Allentown.

The local building ACT has targeted has 3,500 square feet of space, according to an online advertisement of the property. It has been available for rent since at least November 2018 at a price of $10 per square foot per year, or $35,000.

ACT says on its website it tests the potency of cannabinoid, which are compounds such as THC or CBD, and terpene, which produce the scent of the marijuana. The company tests for such contaminants such as residual solvents, pesticides, heavy metals and microbial contaminants. The marijuana testing benefits patients and physicians and producers and distributors benefit from the ability to demonstrate scientifically that they are providing a safe and effective product, ACT said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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