Steep Hill is consistently lauded as a top-tier cannabis testing lab — recently, however, the company launched a state-of-the-art Cultivation Science Program to help producers and processors reach and maintain regulatory compliance in the evolving cannabis landscape. Through this program, Steep Hill goes above and beyond the normal duties of a cannabis lab, establishing truly unique partnerships with growers and other cannabis entrepreneurs as a full-service, legal- and science-minded consultancy.
Steep Hill’s Cultivation Science Program functions as a partnership between the lab and a cannabis company. Lab representatives visit the partnering company’s grow or manufacturing site and make recommendations to keep operations smooth, responsible, and compliant.
The Cultivation Science Program is a “program in which we work with growers, distributors, producers, and manufacturers to provide a full-service level of quality assurance testing, consultation, and analysis,” Tony Daniel, Steep Hill’s Chief Revenue Officer, told Ganjapreneur. “The goal is to work with our customers to ensure that when they get to the regulated testing stage, their flower or product has the best chance to pass.”
To achieve that goal, Steep Hill specialists cover a long checklist, including pesticide testing throughout a harvest cycle, soil testing, air testing, checking for an OSHA-compliant facility, verifying and certifying that a company’s manufacturing equipment is not passing along any microbial contaminants, and more.
“The Cultivation Science Department bridges the gap between regulators and cultivators,” said Lydia Abernethy, Steep Hill’s Director of Cultivation Science. “Many important details must be
considered to successfully produce safe and effective cannabis products in a state-regulated market. Our purpose as longtime advocates is to provide growers and manufacturers with guidance and support.”
Steep Hill performs on-site visits as a third-party consultant, working alongside cannabis companies to navigate laboratory testing and comply with state laws. Some often-overlooked topics that Abernethy and her team address include record keeping and establishing standard operating procedures for producers or processors, she told Ganjapreneur, “But anything that can affect plant health or product safety is of interest to us.”
Finally, while the program focuses on California — the location of Steep Hill’s flagship laboratory — the Cultivation Science Program is technically applicable to any state-legal cannabis market. Steep Hill operates cannabis testing labs in Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, Washington DC, New Mexico, Oregon, and California, but, according to Daniel, has worked in an advisory role in other states.
“In a new or growing market, we can come in at the very beginning of an operational build out,” he said. “We make a protocol so that you are golden from the minute your first product comes out.”