LAS VEGAS, Dec. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- DigiPath Labs—a subsidiary of DigiPath, Inc. (OTCQB: DIGP)—recently published a look back at the first year of Nevada's legal medical cannabis industry. In 2015, Nevada went from only allowing patients to grow their own medicine to implementing a fully licensed growing, testing, and dispensing industry with the strictest safety standards in the nation. As an industry gatekeeper, DigiPath Labs has seen how quickly the industry adapted to the new regulations, and predicts that future growth will be exponential.
"The changes we've seen in just the first year of the legal cannabis industry in Nevada have been immense," says DigiPath Labs CEO Todd Denkin. "We fully expect 2016 to be a big year for medical cannabis cultivation, production, and sales and for Nevada to pave the way for the rest of the country when it comes to cannabis testing for potency and safety."
Since opening in May, DigiPath Labs has tested more than 240 cannabis flower samples, representing over 1,200 pounds of cured flower, from 7 different cultivators supplying only a handful of dispensaries. As of this week, that there are 16 fully licensed cultivators and 7 dispensaries open, with 55 provisional dispensary licenses and 117 cultivators queued up.
DigiPath Labs has been at the forefront of the movement demanding increased accountability and safety in the medical cannabis industry, and it has already seen a seismic shift in the quality of the materials brought to the lab for testing. With the first batch of patient-grown medicine, 60 percent failed to meet requirements for pesticide residue or other microbial contamination. But since state-licensed grow facilities have begun production; the failure rate has fallen to around 5 percent.
"We set out to combine the most sensitive lab equipment available with the most effective standard operating procedures to ensure that patients can rely on our results. At first, a majority of the products we tested didn't meet these strict standards," explains Dr. Cindy Orser, CSO of DigiPath Labs. "But growers who built their operations to meet the new regulations have had a very high pass rate. We are delighted by how quickly the medical cannabis available in Nevada has improved."
Dr. Orser says that the one lingering issue revolves around microbial levels. To remedy this problem, DigiPath Labs is working to educate growers on starting with and keeping a clean cultivation center and maintaining a pathogen-free environment.
The future looks bright for cannabis patients and the industry that serves them. Nevada now has 13,000 registered patients, a 70 percent increase from a year ago when the legislation passed. Because the legislation allows out-of-state patients to use cannabis cards or doctor recommendation from their home state when visiting, cannabis tourism is expected to explode. Already over 42 million people visit Las Vegas annually, and the Department of Health and Human Services predicts that over 180,000 out-of-state patients will visit Nevada in 2016.
"Thanks to the hard work of regulators, growers, testing labs, dispensaries, and patients, Nevada has gone from an ad hoc medical cannabis program to having the most stringent rules of any state in just one year," says Mr. Denkin. "This is a new paradigm for medical cannabis. We're creating the future for the industry."
To learn more about DigiPath Labs, visit www.digipathlabs.com.
About DigiPath, Inc.
DigiPath, Inc., supports the cannabis industry's best practices for reliable testing, education, and training, and brings unbiased cannabis news coverage to the nation. DigiPath's two business units are DigiPath Labs and TNM News Corp.
For more information, go to www.digipath.com.
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SOURCE DigiPath, Inc.