WILLINGTON >> Nicole Steinhilber recently graduated from the University of Hartford with a degree in chemistry and didn’t have to look far to find a job.

Steinhilber is working as a lab technician in a converted former mill building here testing three strains of medical marijuana that went on sale last week at six state dispensaries.

The first medical marijuana samples will likely arrive soon— once a high-level security system is installed.


The lab, known as “theCRO,” which stands for Cannabis Research Organization, is a division of Releaf Therapeutics and will perform testing on medical marijuana to ensure patients’ safety and provide them with the best quality products, CEO James Bento said.

The company recently received its state permit and is scheduled to begin testing small amounts of marijuana early next month.

It is the only approved testing facility in the state.

According to company literature, theCRO is dedicated to managing pain and providing relief to people who suffer from particular diseases and ailments, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, seizure disorders, muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, and nausea from cancer therapy.

The company will gather small amounts — each sample will be measured in milligrams — of the medical marijuana that is being grown at the state’s four grow sites.

Samples will be taken from a variety of areas, as concentrations of psychoactive compounds are generally in higher concentration at the top of the plant and could skew testing results, according to Steinhilber, director of quality assurance.

The equipment will test for five different components of the marijuana: the chemical compounds known as cannabinoid, or CBD, and THC.

All the samples that are collected will be homogenized in a liquid solution, making the marijuana not fit for smoking, Steinhilber said. Each sample will be “thousands of a milligram,” so at any one time the company will have no more …read more