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Interview with Shelby Stanley, Director of Operations for Digipath Labs

Interview with Shelby Stanley, Director of Operations for Digipath Labs

I had a chance to interview the Director of Operations at Digipath Labs, Shelby Stanley, to discuss what it has been like working in the fastest growing cannabis market in the United States. Shelby started with Digipath Labs in 2014, right when the company first started and before the adult-use Las Vegas cannabis market came into existence. She has had the opportunity to see the cannabis industry evolve up close and I was interested to hear some of her insights. A Nevada cannabis lab testing facility that has been in it from the beginning has the best bird’s eye view of the new cannabis industry in Las Vegas.

Table of Contents

As the Director of Operations at Digipath Labs, what is a typical workday like for you?

Most days start with some type of scientist or client meeting. Mondays we are getting ready for our week and making sure we are reaching out to all of our clients to see if they need anything. Mondays are also busy with the delivery of results. I make sure we discuss almost all results with each client, so they understand what we have found. If I do not know the answer to a specific client question I will always make sure to grab a scientist to explain, hop on a call, or even come with me to facilities.

Another part of my job is to keep Digipath compliant with all Nevada rules and regs for admin audits. The folks at the department of taxation can literally walk in at any time and audit our paperwork or data. I like to operate as if it’s going to happen every day. It doesn’t, but we are always ready when it does occur. I’m also proud to report we just recently went through a yearly audit and had ZERO DEFICIENCIES! I also help accounting with accounts receivable and invoicing, and help with marketing and public relations. I’ve been taught that it’s necessary to wear a lot of hats in this industry!

So a typical work day can be hectic sometimes, but it’s all worth the reward of protecting patients, consumers and insuring cultivators and producers receive the best possible customer service.

You have been with the company since the beginning, hired on November 1st, 2014. What are some of the biggest differences today at Digipath versus when you began?

ISO accreditation was HUGE for us as a lab, not only a lab but cannabis lab. It is common for other industries to require this for labs, so I was glad to see Nevada hop on board and add this to regulation. That being said you can’t be accredited without a great staff. I would say that has been a big change, but would say for all areas of our industry. Another big change was from Medical to Adult Use, we saw a large jump in volume in every part of the industry, including lab samples.

Where do you see Digipath Labs in let’s say 10 years?

Ringing the NYSE bell!!! Hopefully sooner than that. Clinical trials, personalized medicine, bio-pesticides, sharing our data with doctors to make sure patients have the right medicine for them.

Nevada has some of the strictest regulations for cannabis sales of any state that has legalized it. Do you feel like they are overdoing it, or do the rest of the states need to catch up?

Other states need to catch up, but I feel like they are along with other countries even. If something is not tested be VERY cautious of the product.  I tell anyone even purchasing from a dispensary to request their results, you should know what you are putting in your body.

You’ve watched the cannabis market develop in Las Vegas over the years. It went from purely a medical marijuana market to include an adult-use market. Can you talk about it’s evolution and where you think it’s going?

I think it’s going to be regulated like everything else in Las Vegas. The growth here is insane there are 42 million tourists, with 2.5 million people living here and thats rapidly growing. So I see this market being GIANT in the next couple years! 

Do you feel like the stigma surrounding cannabis specifically in Las Vegas is still prevalent? If so, why?

As long as media is around, we will always have some type of stigma. We always say around here if the plant were found today it would be considered a miracle drug, but it wasn’t and even though the plant is, the bad wrap still exists. Locally the voters spoke, they legalized it, so I think slowly but surely a LOT, not everyone will come around.

If a consumer new to the Vegas cannabis scene were to ask you for some advice, what would you tell them?

Ask for your results, no matter what you buy or where you go. All dispensaries in Nevada must have results with ALL product on their shelves. So ask for it, or a copy of it. Unfortunately it may take a little extra time, but consider it taking them time to read ingredients or a label for your food/drinks it’s the same concept. You should know what you are putting in your body. Don’t go for highest THC, look at the terpenes. Get your local medical card if you are going to stay longer than a week, most states will accept card under reciprocity and it helps with discounts and lines here locally.

What is the significance of terpenes in your opinion outside of the smell and taste of a cultivar?

The psychological effects. We are finding that terpenes in conjunction with cannabinoids could be the future of personalized medicine. The combination of the two together, I believe, is the key to cures for many different ailments.

How important do you think medical marijuana will become to the medical industry as a whole? Is it more of just a supplement?

I think it’s already happening, doctors are seeing what is can do. CBD to me is a vitamin everyone should take everyday! THC is not for everyone…the psychoactive part is not or everyone period. I truly feel thought with all the data we collect and will collect that this truly is a miracle plant and we should use every bit of it we can!

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