THC Testing Hemp On The Go With Ron Fazio Of Hemp Synergistics

THC Testing Hemp On The Go With Ron Fazio Of Hemp Synergistics
Ministry of Hemp Podcast

Portable THC testing equipment could allow police to determine whether a sample of cannabis flower is hemp or illegal psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”), potentially avoiding needless arrests.

In this episode of the Ministry of Hemp podast, our host Matt talked with Ron Fazio COO of Hemp Synergistics. They’ve partnered with Purdue University’s Center for Crime, Forensics, and Security Analysis to develop a new fully portable hemp testing system that allows law enforcement to test THC levels in less than two minutes.

Matt and Ron talk about the current issues with testing hemp for THC levels, the time wasted testing hemp that could be spent on things like rape kits, and how this kind of instant testing could make law enforcement’s job much easier.

In states without legal recreational cannabis, there’s currently no way for police in the field to tell the difference between legal hemp and illegal “marijuana.” As a result, police sometimes arrest truckers shipping legal hemp. While Ministry of Hemp supports full legalization of cannabis, this kind of portable THC testing could mitigate some of the harms of the war on drugs and protect the new hemp industry.

About Ron Fazio & Hemp Synergistics

Ron Fazio founded the nation’s first full-service, accredited crime lab and is the COO of Hemp Synergistics. When his lab experienced a significant increase in THC testing, this backlogged more critical public safety testing needs like rape kits. This inspired him to seek out a new technological solution to portable THC testing.

Hemp Synergistics is a biotechnology company dedicated to making intelligent hemp products. Hemp Synergistics provides industry solutions including remediation services, formulations and manufacturing
of consumer products in the food, nutraceutical and wellness industries.

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Send us your hemp questions and you might hear them answered on one of our Hemp Q&A episodes. Send your written questions to us on Twitter, Facebook, [email protected], or call us and leave a message at 402-819-6417. Keep in mind, this phone number is for hemp questions only and any other inquiries for the Ministry of Hemp should be sent to [email protected]

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THC testing on the go: Complete episode transcript

Below you’ll find the complete transcript of episode 53 of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, “THC Testing On the Go”:

Matt Baum:
I’m Matt Baum and this is the Ministry of Hemp podcast, brought to you by ministryofhemp.com, America’s leading advocate for hemp and hemp education.

Matt Baum:
Today on the show, I’m talking to Ron Fazio. He is the COO of Hemp Synergistics. Ron worked for decades in criminal forensics and just about every aspect of the criminal forensic lab. Well, he’s left to bring his knowledge of how the forensic lab works and along with Purdue’s School of Criminal Forensics, he’s helped to develop three handheld testing units that can measure the THC level of hemp right there on the side of the road.

Matt Baum:
This is huge. This is the kind of thing that can change the way law enforcement deals with hemp interstate commerce even in the strictest of states. I was afraid this one could get real scientific real fast but Ron is a very intelligent guy, and he’s super easy to talk to, and he boils it down so well. I’m really excited for you guys to hear this one. This is my conversation with Ron Fazio.

Meet Ron Fazio

Ron Fazio:
I’m coming from Zelienople, Pennsylvania.

Matt Baum:
That sounds easy to spell.

Ron Fazio:
It is just as easy to spell as you might imagine.

Matt Baum:
I would guess.

Ron Fazio:
We could say Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is probably better.

Matt Baum:
Pittsburgh, outside of Pittsburgh, we’ll say.

Ron Fazio:
Outside of Pittsburgh.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, every knows Pitt, two T’s, Pittsburgh. Everybody knows that one.

Ron Fazio:
With the H.

Matt Baum:
So, Ron, tell me about you a little bit before we get into this new testing, shall we call it a device?

Ron Fazio:
Sure. There’s actually three devices. This is the first of the three. My background has been predominantly in forensics in laboratory testing. So, I’ve worked in the forensic field in multiple states for actually decades. I was able to start and operate a private full service accredited crime lab. We serve predominantly law enforcement agencies, but we also serve defense attorneys and civil attorneys. And we did things from narcotics testing, firearms, crime scene, DWI, the standard kind of normal crime lab test.

Matt Baum:
So how do you go from that background to working in hemp and marijuana testing? How did that happen?

Ron Fazio:
You can’t beat them, join them.

Matt Baum:
Okay, fair enough. I like that answer actually.

Ron Fazio:
Well, the state of Pennsylvania legalized hemp a few years ago, and I was seriously considering applying for at least a dispensary license. And I spent some time with some interesting, very capable people in the industry in Pennsylvania. My background being what it was, I really had some of the most comprehensive, in-depth, yet legal experience in narcotics, specifically marijuana and that really led to my kind of gravitating towards this.

Ron Fazio:
So, at that time, I was working as a senior executive with another organization. I finished my tour with them, and working with Russ Cersosimo and some other people we decided that hemp is, it’s a fantastic industry. It’s growing rapidly. The cannabinoids with the farm bill and the DEA regulation changes made these cannabinoids accessible to pretty much the entirety of the population in the United States, if not the world.

Ron Fazio:
And the bottom line is if people are going to consume cannabinoids, they should be able to get them in a safe and efficacious manner. They should know that the product that they’re taking, if they want no THC, they should be getting a product that has no THC.

Matt Baum:
Preach. Absolutely. That’s what we do here at Ministry of Hemp is push that, definitely.

Ron Fazio:
Yeah. And to do that, you need to have some pretty significant laboratory skills, chromatography in particular and that’s just what I had. So, it’s interesting that my background in testing marijuana as a Schedule I or anywhere from Schedule I to Schedule III narcotic depending on what state you’re in, really led me to where I’m at today. And I love where I’m at.

Working with forensics experts at Perdue University to develop better THC testing

Matt Baum:
So from there, you hooked up with Purdue University Northwest’s newly formed center for crime forensics. How does this happen? You just said, “Hey, I used to work in crime forensics. You guys are working in crime forensics. I’ve got an idea.” You just reached out or-

Ron Fazio:
Well, their director, Dr. Christian Westring and I are colleagues. We worked together in the past. And so, Christian and I remained friends ever since and early on, I talked to Dr. Westring about the possibility of taking an existing forensic test that was in the public domain. Nothing special about it, but modifying it so that it could be used to quantitate or semi-quantitate THC in a field test, simple, easy, yet reliable so that law enforcement could determine the difference between, “Hey, this is hemp,” versus, “Hey, this is really marijuana, and it needs to go to the lab for testing.”

Matt Baum:
I can’t think of a bigger waste of time for law enforcements agencies that are looking at real crime. I read about like how you had said there were things like rape kits that were getting put on the back burner while this long testing was going on so someone could see, is this hemp product hot like over by two or three percentage points which is just ludicrous. When we’re trying to solve rapes or murders, get this crap out of here. It’s just stupid. Is that what sort of pushed this idea forward, your own experience working in these crime labs?

Ron Fazio:
Yeah. So, the test to identify something is being marijuana is very simple. It takes literally minutes. So, a crime lab, any crime lab can knock through hundreds, if not thousands of these in a week. But the test to say, I’m going to measure the amount of THC, and that’s important by weight and therefore, make determination whether it’s industrial hemp or marijuana, turns that test that’s literally a couple of minutes long to a test that takes typically six or more months and cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Matt Baum:
So why is that? Why is it so easy for them to say, “Yes, this is definitely marijuana,” but when you want to look at something like industrial hemp, what is the difference in that test that makes it so difficult?

Ron Fazio:
Without getting into the science, it’s just the level of instrumentation, the way that you extract it, the way you prepare your sample and the way that you do the test itself. If a marijuana identification typically be done with some color tests, a very simple microscopy and boom, you’re done. Whereas a quantification, that’s how much THC is in there. You have to weigh it. You have to extract a certain amount. You have to extract a certain procedure. You have to run it on some sort of mass spec. You have to be able to measure those ions, or integrate the curve and be able to come up with the amount, and then that calculate how much it was per the original mass percentage-wise.

Matt Baum:
So the problem lies in the fact not so much that like, is this marijuana or is it not marijuana? We have to ask the additional question, “Okay, it’s not marijuana but how much THC is actually in it?” That’s what the problem was?

Ron Fazio:
Is it hemp or not?

Matt Baum:
Got you. So, how do you-

Ron Fazio:
Because they’re the same plant, industrial hemp and marijuana are exact same plant.

Matt Baum:
Just different levels of THC, that’s all.

Ron Fazio:
Correct.

Making THC testing possible on the go

Matt Baum:
So how do you take a six-month testing regimen like that and smash it down into something … We’ll get to the device in a minute, but just smash it down into a test that you can perform in minutes.

Ron Fazio:
Well, it’s not the same test. It’s a different test, and the question is getting back to what you said before, law enforcement doesn’t want to have to investigate, prosecute or arrest somebody if they don’t have to. They got better things to do.

Matt Baum:
They don’t have time, period.

Ron Fazio:
They don’t have time. It’s just a lot of money and effort. But they don’t have any current tools in the field to say, “You know what, this is almost certainly marijuana.” Or inversely, “This is almost certainly legal hemp.” On top of that, different states have different rules. Some states say 1%, some states say 0.3%. I know the federal rule is 0.3% but the states have come up sometimes with a spare rules.

Ron Fazio:
So a law enforcement agency in Texas may differ than a law enforcement agency in Kentucky. And so there’s not one singular thing that you can do up until this point to say, “Hey, this is more consistent with hemp than it is with marijuana.” So the trick is to make a color test, an existing technology and be able to convert it to a color test almost kind of like when you test the pH in your pool. What is the percentage?

Ron Fazio:
The trick is people can misinterpret colors or shades of colors. And so we had to come up with a way to measure the color that was pretty much objective for anybody that’s looking at it. And we did that with the way that the colors or the light is transmissible through the color, if that makes sense. How much can you see through it?

Matt Baum:
Is this like a chromatology test like you were talking about?

Ron Fazio:
It’s a color test and it’s a color test like you do … The basis of it as a color test like you would measure the chlorine in your pool or the pH of something.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, I’m an aquarium nerd so I know all about that.

Ron Fazio:
Yeah, there you go. It’s more complicated than that, but that is the base chemistry going on. The trick again is how do you turn that into something that if you gave that a speck of color to three different people, you might get three different readings. So, the real trick is we’re able to take, or Purdue more correctly, was able to take that and turn that into an objective reading so that anybody could look at that and get the same result.

Matt Baum:
And what does that look like? Is it like a number based?

Ron Fazio:
It’s a number based. Right now, it’s measured in increments of 0.05% of THC and that will come down, that level of discrimination will actually get better with subsequent devices and I’ll go into the devices in just a minute. But the first iteration is a very simple color test. It’s operated very similarly to what existing field test kits that law enforcement use right now. It takes some sample. They put it in there. They shake it up. They look at the color. They can make some interpretative results.

Matt Baum:
Now, let me stop you and ask you real quick. One of the things that I’ve heard in speaking to other people about testing is that when it comes to hemp, it really depends how you test it as well. If you test some of the fibrous stock, you’re going to be fine. But if you test some of the flower, you could be way over. Or if you test the leaf and the flower, the flower could push the leaf over or vice versa.

Matt Baum:
When you say take a sample and test it, how does that work? What are they sampling?

Ron Fazio:
They would have to take a representative sample. Presumably, most of these are going to be flower hemp. That is the smoke or the aerial portions of the plant. And those have to maintain a certain percentage of cannabinoids based on that jurisdiction’s rules. Again, a jurisdiction makes 0.3%, that’s it. No leeway. They may say 1%. Anything above 1%, we’re going to investigate. Anything under it, we’re going to cut them loose. This is just not worth it.

Ron Fazio:
Most of the tests on smokable plant product has actually shown that THC is less than 0.3%. It’s the extracted products where it becomes very, very likely that it’s going to be way above 0.3%.

Matt Baum:
Right, because they’re boosting it during the extraction process basically.

Ron Fazio:
Concentrating it. Concentrating all the cannabinoids including THC. And without the ability to remove THC, you get more often than that, believe it or not, you get products that are above the legal limit.

How police could use Hemp Synergistics THC testing products

Matt Baum:
Sure. It makes perfect sense. So you’ve got … Let’s start talking about the device here. I’m a police officer. I’ve pulled over a truck. It’s hauling flower hemp and I take a look and go, “That sure smells like marijuana to me. Good thing I’ve got my handy-dandy …” what is it called? I was going to say test [crosstalk 00:14:08]. I’m sorry?

Ron Fazio:
TRU, THC Recognition Unit.

Matt Baum:
I like that. That’s nice. So, if they take out their TRU unit, what am I holding? Does it look like a walkie-talkie? Does it look like a space gun? What does this thing look like?

Ron Fazio:
The first iteration, the simplest one is a liquid test kit. So, you open your box, you pull out a test kit. It has everything that you need inside. There is a sampling device and a way to homogenize and take a consistent amount of sample and without going into details which are exceedingly boring, the way to take-

Matt Baum:
I appreciate that. Thank you.

Ron Fazio:
No problem. You take a little bit of the plant material or whatever material. You put it into another device. You grind it with a special disposable grinder. It packs down into the bottom of the cone and then you pick that out and that is actually a very consistent amount of THC or very consistent amount of product.

Matt Baum:
And everything you’ve just described sounds like exactly what I would do if I were going to smoke it, for example.

Ron Fazio:
There you go. You have to grab it first, put it in a bowl.

Matt Baum:
Same rules, okay.

Ron Fazio:
You take that pellet that you’ve made. You drop it into your test container. It’s a very, very small pellet. It’s probably about the size, if you can imagine a pinhead, but now in the shape of the same diameter of pinhead but it’s a ball, a little ball shaped.

Matt Baum:
We’re talking a tiny amount then?

Ron Fazio:
Tiny amount, very tiny amount. You drop it in there and you give it about two minutes for the color change and then you take that and you hold it up on a reading card. And the reading card is imprinted numbers and then you roll it down or move it down the reading card. And the minute that you can see the numbers, you know what percentage of THC you’re at.

Matt Baum:
This is exactly like the Penn-Plax pH test that I use on my aquarium. I literally move the vial down the color spectrum. Only you don’t have numbers, you can see like oh, that matches the color that I’m looking through. There it is.

Ron Fazio:
Correct. It’s always the same color. The trick is how much opacity, how much is in there, how much color. You won’t be able to see the numbers until boom, until you hit the right amount.

Matt Baum:
So there’s no argument. Even if I’m color blind, I can look and say like, “Okay, I don’t see the number one. I don’t see the number two. I do see the number three.”

Ron Fazio:
Correct.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Ron Fazio:
Correct. Very simple.

Matt Baum:
It’s a liquid like you said. You’re dropping this in a liquid?

Ron Fazio:
It’s a liquid, and everything can go back into the bag. If it turns out it’s above that jurisdiction’s legal requirement and they’re going to investigate as marijuana, they put everything back in the bag, seal it. That bag can be submitted as evidence along with whatever they seize whether it’s a small little baggie of plant material, whether it’s a tractor trailer.

Ron Fazio:
So if somebody wants to come back later and say, “Okay, what did you do? What did you sample? What did you look at,” right there in a self-sealed container. If not, it can go right in the trash.

Technology could see use in hemp industry too

Matt Baum:
What about vice versa? If I am shipping this, could I use this testing unit to show police like, “Hey, I’ve got my own right here. Here’s what I’m hauling. Feel free to take your own sample and do yours and we can compare”?

Ron Fazio:
Yeah, the beautiful thing about this is it’s at a price point and usability that anybody in the industry can use, shop owners, anybody in the transportation business, growers. It is not going to replace like for hemp grower the statutory state laws in terms of laboratory testing. But if they want to go in and they want to get a quick check on whether THC is zoning that day, that week. For a few dollars, they can come in and do the test and know real quick where they’re at.

Matt Baum:
And you’re talking about two-minute test, by the way? You’re not sending it anywhere? You’re not [crosstalk 00:21:15] waiting for results to come back? You shake it up and you sit there and you go, “Oh, this zone of the field is a little hot. Let’s back down on whatever or let’s water more,” I don’t even know how it works.

Ron Fazio:
Harvest early …

Matt Baum:
Exactly. I know there’s things they can do.

Ron Fazio:
Yeah, it gives them the ability to manage their crops a little better. Truckers, I know I got a lab report but what trucker knows how to read a lab report? How do they know that lab report actually meets what they’re shipping? It’s easier to forge something like that. So, it gives them a chance for a few dollars to be able to test really quick and just know where they’re at.

Matt Baum:
And what exactly are they testing for? They’re testing for delta-nine-THC? Is that correct?

Ron Fazio:
Correct, delta-nine-THC.

THC testing units need to be small and portable

Matt Baum:
Okay. And it’s simple enough that like you said, a trucker can do it. A traffic cop can do it. It sounds pretty straightforward. Can I ask how is law enforcement reacting to this? Are they in, or do they like this because it simplifies things? Were they hesitant? I mean, you’ve got Purdue behind you which is a good name to have obviously. They are nationwide recognized crime lab. Is anyone rolling this out yet? Is anyone using it in the field?

Ron Fazio:
Yeah. So, we do have … I’m not at liberty to discuss the particular police departments but we do have partner police departments that will be evaluating this in the field. Undoubtedly, we’re going to get things back that need to be changed or modified for wide acceptance. The really big deal about this the first stage of the three products, and all three are developed and validated within the university.

Ron Fazio:
And that’s a really important distinction. This is not a product that was hatched in by private company and made and trust us it works. This is a product that was tested, validated in a university setting and those data will be published in scientific journals so that anybody can go pull them, see what their reliability is, see what their error ranges, see that they’re truly a validated field test.

Matt Baum:
Right. We’re above board. We’re not just trying to sell you something.

Ron Fazio:
Correct.

Matt Baum:
So, tell me about the units themselves. You said there’s three of them right now.

Ron Fazio:
Correct. The second one works on the same principle but it will be a handheld meter, about the size of two or three decks of cards.

Matt Baum:
So this is small. I mean, it’s not like a heavy bulky thing. You can throw this in the car.

Ron Fazio:
Correct. Police cars are … A lot of people don’t … They probably don’t realize this, but police cars are jam-packed in here. They have to carry a lot of stuff to meet any kind of situations. So, everything that we do has to be designed that’s small, it’s rugged. They can get beaten up. It can be repaired or replaced easily.

Matt Baum:
You can have a mobile crime lab rolling around with Bunsen burners or whatnot.

Ron Fazio:
You can have that. That’s right. That’s a good point. So, this one will be … It’s a very small device. It does the same thing but except instead of holding this up to a card, you put a vial in there. You push a button and it gives you a digital reading.

Ron Fazio:
So, you see the number right there on the screen in front of you and they’re able to write that down or do whatever you need to do. Look at that, it says 0.35. Our internal policy is anything less than 0.7, we’re going to cut loose and have a nice day. But look at that, it’s registering at 2.8. It’s way above anything that we’d expect to see or have. Let’s investigate this as a marijuana offense.

Ron Fazio:
The third device is the most technically advanced of all three. And that’s actually a miniature field spectrophotometer. And that actually will attach, almost certainly, we’ll have attached to cellphones or their existing PDAs to provide the interface. So that interface could be just an app that you can download. And you can manage that app right there on your phone like a PDA and the spectrophotometer, I know it sounds really fancy and all that. They’re not that technically challenging.

Matt Baum:
I’ll take your word for it.

Ron Fazio:
They’re in common use. They really are. And cellphone attached spectrophotometers are commercially available. It’s just being able to take one, having it tested reliably that it can appropriately quantify the delta-nine-THC is that’s where the work is at.

Matt Baum:
So, is this third device, that might be something that is a little more geared towards the hemp grower, for example, the farmer, if you will, that needs to get serious readings right there minute by minute right on their phone?

Ron Fazio:
It could be, and absolutely could be. You may have two departments and let’s say three department and within five miles of each other. One department may have a policy, “We absolutely positively want to have the disposable field test because of whatever reasons.” The next department may say, “We want the metal device because we like more of a unit that has a fixed cost and we can send it in for repair and do what we need to do.” And the third department may say, “Now, we really want the spectrophotometer one because we’re really heavy on the use of our cellphones. We manage more on our cellphones. Our department issued cellphones and that’s what we want.”

Ron Fazio:
So, not one of them right now is specifically designed for a particularly consumer in mind. They’re designed based on that department or that person or that organization’s goals and desires.

Matt Baum:
I assume the price point moves up with each device as well? The first one, the disposable [crosstalk 00:27:30]

Ron Fazio:
The price point moves up but the cost per tests moves down.

Matt Baum:
Makes sense.

Ron Fazio:
Yeah. So the cost per test for the manual one, that’s very high. If you’re only going to do two, three, four of these a week, you’d probably just want the disposable field test kit. But if you’re doing hundreds to thousands a week, it becomes more cost advantageous for your department to have the units and therefore, your test costs are much, much less.

Matt Baum:
And if everything is linked on your phone or computer, whatever, you can instantly send that off to whoever needs that information too.

Ron Fazio:
Some departments have that ability on their phones or PDAs, and they can upload that information directly into their CAD or computer-aided dispatch or records management system, RMS. So, yes, they could potentially do that.

Matt Baum:
I know you can’t know, but do you see any pushback that could come from law enforcement on this? To me, this sounds like exactly what they’ve been asking for because there’s been so many incidents. One of the stories we covered was like a truck driving through Arkansas that get pulled over. Everything got pulled off. The trucker was arrested. They sent it away for testing. Two months later, the tests come back. The trucker has been in jail the whole time and they go, “Sorry, you didn’t do anything wrong. And by the way, we got to throw all that away because it’s garbage.”

The future of Hemp Synergistics

Matt Baum:
This sounds exactly like what law enforcement has been asking for. Do you see any pushback coming?

Ron Fazio:
No, I think there’s … Anytime you have a new technology, it sounds too good to be true. There’s going to be a pushback from certain departments especially in my experience, I’ve seen certain not any particular geographic [inaudible 00:29:14] but I’ve always seen it’s been interesting different parts of the country, law enforcement in different parts of the country will have different ways of policing, different goals and different ways of going at this.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Ron Fazio:
So, I don’t think that this is going to be selling millions and millions from day one. I think that adoption is going to be slow because law enforcement is, they’re going to be a particular to make sure that this can do what it says it can do. And that they can apply it the way they should apply it. And then two, they’re going to have to roll this into their budgets and the procedures and these things take time. It’s just not an overnight proposition.

Ron Fazio:
Last but not the least, this test is not designed to replace a crime lab test. It is designed to keep out the ones that never should go to the crime lab, those that are the hemp ones.

Matt Baum:
And that makes sense. If you can cut it off right there and say, “We have something that’s going to give us a real solid number that we can look at and say, ‘We don’t need to waste our time with this,’” that is what’s really important.

Ron Fazio:
Agreed. And I think that’s where the value is in this product, is keeping those legal hemp products from tying up the resources of law of enforcement because they have better things to do. They really don’t want to arrest people for no reason. They’re charged with enforcing the law and it could be the state, the county, the city council, whomever says, “This is what the people of that jurisdiction say. This is what you need to investigate.” And they can’t say no. They have to do it.

Ron Fazio:
So, if this gives them the tool to be able to still do that but also avoid sending these unnecessary, very expensive time-consuming test to the crime labs, everybody wins, law enforcement, crime labs, everybody.

Matt Baum:
From your history and perspective, just speaking from what you saw, let’s say these rolls out everywhere. What kind of time save and money save is this reflecting for your local crime lab that’s working on something? What percentage of this test that you saw coming in personally were a waste of your time, were testing marijuana or testing hemp?

Ron Fazio:
When I was actually running the crime lab, it didn’t matter if it was hemp or marijuana, it was all legally defined as marijuana. It didn’t matter if they had point 0.5% THC. This has only been something that’s maybe the last 12 months that’s been an issue. While I have seen some ancillary data that many of the state crime labs do not have the resources or pushback on doing these tests themselves, it’s not technically challenging. It’s very time consuming and expensive, and they got a lot to do, and they have fixed budgets.

Ron Fazio:
There are some private crime labs that will do it and their turnaround time is typically measured three or more months, usually double that. And the cost is $602 and up. It’s not uncommon to see one of these … So, imagine how many people-

Matt Baum:
God bless private industry, right?

Ron Fazio:
That’s per sample by the way. So in the case of the truck driver, they would have to take at least 28 samples to identify the entire truck, at least 28. It’s the minimum.

Matt Baum:
That’s 600 bucks a pop.

Ron Fazio:
At least. So, nobody wants to spend that money.

Matt Baum:
No. I’m in the wrong business obviously. This sounds amazing and I don’t know, not knowing … Not being a scientist myself and not working in the field, from what I’ve read and talking to you, this sounds like it is going to change things, like literally change the game when it comes down to “I’m a police officer” or “I am a trucker” or “I am a hemp farmer.” This sounds like every step of the way, you could be saving a lot of time, a lot of money and just covering your own ass when it comes down to it, if you will.

Ron Fazio:
Yeah, though from our perspective, here we are in the hemp business and we’re doing very well. We have an obligation to serve and to take care of all members that are in this field. That became boom, literally almost overnight legal and it flooded the markets. And it’s really unfair to ask that our existing laws and/or policies in each and every jurisdiction is able to just change their policies overnight. It’s not fair to expect.

Ron Fazio:
So, we hear these stories, “And grandmother gets arrested at Disney World,” and, “The trucker gets arrested and his vehicle is impounded.” And as a scientist, my first question is how do I fix that? I should fix it.

Matt Baum:
It is such a colossal waste of time and money.

Ron Fazio:
Colossal, and nobody likes it. There’s not a single person that gets involved in that from the police officer, to the jurisdiction, to the courts, to the crime lab, to the person getting arrested that thought, “You know that was a really good experience. We should do that again.”

Matt Baum:
The company that’s selling it or the company that’s buying it. This is a massive pain that goes all the way back to the farm. It’s just insanity.

Ron Fazio:
Correct, yes, it is. It absolutely is. And if we can take just half of those cases and eliminate the need to go to the lab, that’s thousands of people that didn’t have to go through this. And that’s a true benefit we’re bringing to the market.

Matt Baum:
And not just the people didn’t have to go through it, that’s thousands of traffic stops or tested officers don’t have to worry about and can do their job and take care of real issues.

Ron Fazio:
Correct. They’ve got a lab test in the field that says, “My internal policy, my training in this lab test, so I was able to move in this direction and it’s substantiated by this field test.”

Matt Baum:
Right, and take it out of the officer’s hands. You don’t have to be a scientist. You don’t have to make … And you also don’t have to make a judgment call that may or may not be wrong. “Here you go, you’ve done your job, the little boxes were good, we’re good. Have a nice day.” I think it’s-

Ron Fazio:
“Or it’s hot and I need to take you in.”

Matt Baum:
Right. “And I’m doing the right thing because this is my training and it’s telling me to do so. Sorry about that, I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car,” or whatever.

Ron Fazio:
When we think about it, for every one person that ends up with what they think, what they thought was hemp, it turns out to be legally defined as marijuana, there’s got to be 10 more, 20 more that don’t. They actually have a legal hemp product. And now it’s those extra 20, those extra 10 that were hopefully going to be able to help.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, without a doubt. Man, Ron, I know you’re a scientist but you’re doing the work of the angels here. And we appreciate it, man. Thank you.

Ron Fazio:
My pleasure.

Final thoughts from Matt

Matt Baum:
Thanks again to Ron for coming on the show. I really enjoyed talking to him. And in subjects like this, when it comes to testing, that seems so simple but can be so complex. And I can’t stress enough that putting a testing device like this in the hands of police, how much it’s going to change shipping hemp, especially through these states that aren’t quite as hemp friendly as some other ones.

Matt Baum:
I’ll have the picture of the device in the show notes for this episode as well. Ron and I went on to talk about the DEA and some classifications that they need to work on that will also help. But I’ll save that one for another podcast. It’s really interesting and I’m excited for you guys to hear that too.

Matt Baum:
That brings us to the end of another Ministry of Hemp podcast. Thanks again to Marissa for hooking up this interview, really cool topic and I love talking about stuff like this. And if you dig what we do here and the hemp education and maybe you’re learning something and you want to help spread the word, head to Patreon/ministryofhemp. There’s also a link on ministryofhemp.com that you can just click on.

Matt Baum:
And any amount that you give makes you a Ministry of Hemp Insider. It gets you access to early articles, to podcast extras, a bunch of other stuff too. And like I said, it helps us spread the good word of hemp education. If you believe that hemp can change the world like I do, become a Ministry of Hemp Insider. It helps so much.

Matt Baum:
Speaking of ministryofhemp.com, don’t just take my word for it. Head over to our site where we’ve got a new CBD review of Receptra Naturals Serious Rest tincture. We’ve also got a really cool story about how more and more pro athletes are using CBD for recovery, energy and focus. The football season is starting this week, so I hope those guys are stocked up.

Matt Baum:
We also have a very cool article about CBG. It’s an introduction to cannabigerol. CBG is very hot right now in the CBD world, so it’s good one to read. Figure out, is this something that can help you that you might want to add your regimen? Check all those articles out over at ministryofhemp.com. And if you need more Ministry of Hemp in your life, you can follow us on all of our social media, @MinistryofHemp, /ministryofhemp. We are everywhere. We’re constantly throwing out cool stories, links to cool people who are doing amazing things in the hemp universe.

Matt Baum:
And if you have questions, call me, 402-819-6417. And leave me your hemp related question after the beep and we will answer it on this show. Speaking of which, next week, we are going to be talking about scams. We talk a lot about what CBD does. We’re going to take a break and talk about what it doesn’t do. That is going to be a fun one.

Matt Baum:
And before I get out of here, I just want to mention. Ministry of Hemp believes that a more accessible world is a better world for everyone, so you can find a full written transcript for this show in the notes as well.

Matt Baum:
All right, that’s it. It’s time for me to go. And I like to end the show the same way every time by saying remember to take care of yourself, take care of others and make good decisions, will you? This is Matt Baum with the Ministry of Hemp signing off.

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