Athol Planning Board OKs special permit for cannabis testing lab  

  • The Board of Planning and Community Development recently approved a special permit as an independent testing lab submitted by Greenleaf Analytics LLC, dba CERES Labs, for property located at 134 Chestnut Hill Ave. Left to right — Planning Board Chairman David Small, Board members Jacqueline Doherty, Aimee Hanson and Richard Hayden. Foreground — Keith Bisogno, Executive Consultant for Greenleaf Analytics. Submitted Photo

  • A special permit for Greenleaf Analytics LLC to conduct cannabis testing at the former tool factory at 134 Chestnut Hill Ave. in Athol, was recently approved by the Athol Planning Board. Greenleaf will sublease space from Mass Grow LLC, which is renovating the facility throughout. Athol Daily News/Deborrah Porter

Staff Writer
Published: 6/24/2019 9:40:19 PM

ATHOL – The Board of Planning and Community Development last Wednesday approved a Licensed Marijuana Establishment Special Permit application as an Independent Testing Lab for a cannabis analytical testing facility at 134 Chestnut Hill Ave.

CERES Labs, under applicant Greenleaf Analytics, LLC, will sublease space from Mass Grow LLC at the former L.P. Athol Corporation building. Planning Board chairman David Small said the conditions regarding parking spaces and security were met. To become established, there will be a 20-day waiting period after which the paperwork goes to the town clerk and filed with the registry of deeds.

Small said Mass Grow plans to lease out space to other licensed cannabis related businesses which would have to deal with their own individual liabilities and are responsible for their own space. “That way,” he said, “if there are any issues, there’s a double layer of being compliant with rules.”

Keith Bisogno, Executive Consultant for Greenleaf Analytics, said he was “really pleased” to get the thumbs up from the Planning Board. “We greatly appreciate the support of Athol town officials and key stakeholders who have been so responsive and helpful in our application process.”

The nearly 3,500 square foot lab will be located on the ground floor of Building 2B and initially bring five to seven high tech science jobs to Athol.

Bisogno explained that testing is the gatekeeper for ensuring cannabis products are safe for adult users. Labs analyze plant material, extracted oils or manufactured cannabis products to determine THC potency and to screen for contaminants like bacteria, pesticides, solvents or heavy metals. The testing labs don’t cultivate, extract or make products.

The lab testing data ends up on product labels providing consumers important information including levels of THC and CBD, two key cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis.

The lab will not store large amounts of cannabis product as technicians only take very small samples for testing.

Bisogno said the goal is to get the lab operational as soon as possible. “Our biggest priority over the next number of weeks will be working with the Cannabis Control Commission to get our state license, which would then allow us to implement the laboratory.”

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