Pubdate: Sun, 01 Apr 2018
Source: Kansas City Star (MO)
Copyright: 2018 The Kansas City Star


One of only three marijuana testing labs in Alaska has shut down,
leaving the state's cannabis growers with only two options for
state-mandated testing.

Steep Hill Alaska, of Anchorage, declared in an Instagram post
Thursday that the lab is "suspending cannabis testing operations on
March 31," the Juneau Empire reported .

The lab said it has to relocate after "Wells Fargo called in the loan
on our building." The bank will foreclose on the space if the lab does
not move out, according to the post.

"It is currently Wells Fargo's policy not to knowingly bank marijuana
businesses, based on federal laws under which the sale and use of
marijuana is still illegal," Alaska Wells Fargo spokesman Brian
Kennedy said by email.

Steep Hill CEO Brian Coyle said his lab's closure is the end result of
months of conflict. That conflict was caused by federal banking
regulations that prevent banks from dealing with marijuana businesses.

"To me, Wells Fargo is the real bad guy here," Coyle said Friday by
phone. "They could give a (expletive) about Alaska. Only 700,000
people in Alaska; that's less than the city of San Francisco.

"We need to hold their feet to the fire. If they're going to be doing
business in Alaska, they should be following Alaska's state laws."

Steep Hill rents office space in Anchorage and was informed by its
landlord late last year that Wells Fargo -- which holds a loan on the
building -- was preparing to call the loan because it had learned that
Steep Hill was a marijuana business.

Alaska regulations require marijuana sold in the state to be tested
for potency and contaminants. With Steep Hill's closure,
Anchorage-based CannTest and Wasilla-based New Frontier Research now
are the only available testing labs in the state.

"The businesses that use Steep Hill are going to be inconvenienced .
obviously Steep Hill is going to be extremely inconvenienced, but as
far as the industry as a whole is concerned, I don't think it will be
a major issue," said Brandon Emmett, a member of Alaska's Marijuana
Control Board.

Emmett, who chairs the subcommittee devoted to testing issues, said
the wider effects of Steep Hill's closure will be limited because
CannTest alone has the capacity to handle both business' work.

A CannTest representative confirmed its lab has enough capacity to
handle state demand.
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MAP posted-by: Matt