Growing Green and Clean: Vision for a Safer Cannabis Future in Maine

Nova Analytic Labs, a key figure in Maine’s cannabis testing market, exemplifies an unwavering dedication to safety, fairness, and industry growth. Our commitment is reflected not just in words but through a series of targeted actions and collaborations, rooted in an understanding of the unique needs and challenges of the market.

Recently, Nova’s CEO, Chris Altomare, sat down with Jordan Smith of Royal River Botanicals to discuss testing regulations for medical cannabis in Maine. The interview, above, walks through Nova’s practical approach to cannabis testing, data-based perspective on regulation, and proposed initiatives for a more responsible and inclusive Maine cannabis industry.

Harmonizing Regulation with Market Diversity


We at Nova recognize the crucial role of testing medical cannabis and advocate for thoughtful, nuanced regulations, based on risk analysis and clinical research. Our stance is tailored to accommodate the diverse range of operators in Maine, from small-scale growers to large-scale corporations. We are committed to maintaining a balance where safety is the primary consideration, without imposing excessive burdens on the smaller, vital players in the state.


Small batch testing is prohibitively expensive, but other approaches are available.  A solution is needed that is feasible for operators of all sizes, ensuring that testing requirements bolster safety while supporting market participation and success. One option is based on a risk analysis profile of the cannabis licensee. Testing would be performed at intervals based on the total quantity of product being produced for retail sale. In other words, the scale of testing would be directly proportional to the scale of the business. The more products sold, the more patients are impacted and the more testing would be performed to ensure what is coming out of the facility meets safety expectations. A parallel to this approach can be found in manufacturing where  every X amount of product coming off of a production line gets Z number of quality control tests.


Data-Driven Insights for Meaningful Impact


The recent data analysis conducted by Nova on contamination rates in cannabis products has reinforced our dedication to refined testing practices. This data highlights both contamination issues as well as the proactive steps taken by cultivators to ensure consumer safety. Our data showed that while contamination is present, testing can identify these instances and prevent such products from ever making it into circulation. Nova supports a balanced approach to mandatory testing, one that recognizes the diversity of Maine’s medical cannabis market and avoids overly broad mandates.


Further, an independent secret shopper study conducted by the Office of Cannabis Policy reported a 42% contamination rate in shelf products. While revealing, we believe the study necessitates further analysis, particularly with regards to the lack of comparison with adult-use cannabis products. Such comparisons are crucial for developing a comprehensive understanding of the current testing requirements and formulating a path forward in the medical market.


Fostering Future Safety and Integrity Initiatives


Nova Analytic Labs is committed to enhancing the safety and integrity of Maine’s cannabis industry through several proposed initiatives:


  • Round Robin Testing: This involves multiple labs testing the same samples to establish a benchmark for consistency and accuracy across the state, identifying discrepancies in methodologies and calibration, and ensuring uniform testing standards. This testing is meant to hold labs accountable and identify systemic issues in methodology and/or regulations for testing.
  • Data Aggregation for Market Transparency: By gathering and analyzing testing data from across the industry, we aim to detect anomalies, prevent malpractice, and establish benchmarks, leading to more accurate and reliable testing. We utilize statistical analysis to assess the reliability of lab data, focusing on the comparison of bell curve distributions from different labs. Bell curves, a graphical representation of data that shows a distribution of values, should closely match across labs in a standardized testing environment. If one lab’s bell curve significantly deviates from others, it may indicate inaccurate data, possibly due to flawed methods or ethical issues. This statistical tool is vital for maintaining integrity and credibility in the testing process. In order for this to happen, de-identified data from the laboratories needs to be publicly available for analysis. Many other states have already set this precedent and as such, have closed gaps in testing variability between labs and have helped prevent lab shopping.
  • Public Data Availability: Making testing data publicly accessible underscores our commitment to transparency and trust. This enables informed consumer decisions and independent research analyses, encouraging industry accountability and community dialogue.

Cultivating a Collaborative and Equitable Cannabis Industry


Our vision is a collaborative, tailored approach to regulation, working closely with regulators, cultivators, and other industry stakeholders. We focus on empowering operators of all sizes, ensuring safety and success for all in the sector.

Nova Analytic Labs is more than a regulatory compliance entity; we are dedicated to helping foster a safe, equitable, and thriving cannabis market in Maine. We intend to continue conversations with operators such as Royal River Botanicals and help to identify meaningful solutions to medical testing.