SD cannabis testing lab discusses industry's talk of COVID-19 testing

Posted at 1:29 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 16:29:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Some professionals in the cannabis industry are considering the use of pot testing labs for COVID-19 testing.

This Tuesday, 10News interviewed the co-founder of a lab in Miramar where dozens of scientists do cannabis testing and analysis.

Josh Swider is with San Diego's Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs, a cannabis testing lab. He is opposed to the idea and believes it’s dangerous.

“We're not clinical labs so every lab is going to be set up differently,” he told 10News. “If you don't have all the skills and training in place, there could be one laboratory tech that's not following it and contaminates your whole lab and then all your customers walk into your building,” he explained.

He believes cannabis testing labs are proficient in chemistry analysis but not the analysis of biological material with infectious components so the risk for employees and customers is too high.

“The second major thing I can see to be potentially hazardous is that if some protocol isn't followed when you're doing analysis and you start creating false negatives,” he added.

Not all labs are shying away.

“We're open to the possibility,” said David Winternheimer with Pacific Star Labs, a cannabis testing facility in Los Angeles. “I think- like everyone- we want to help out in this crisis,” he added.

Winternheimer believes that with the proper accreditation, certification and safety training on handling samples, COVID-19 testing could be on the horizon.

“It's a big leap. [A lab spends] a lot of resources and time getting to do one thing and kind of re-purposing part of the lab to do the other [is not impossible] but there's certainly some challenges in doing so,” he explained to 10News.

Both the experts told 10News that they're unaware of any cannabis testing labs that are currently testing for COVID-19. They say it’s only been discussed.