"Product risk in cannabis is still little understood by many operators in our industry"

A cannabis botanist has been named director of product safety for National Cannabis Risk Prevention Services, preparing the organization to launch and build a product safety program to serve the needs of the growing industry.

Andrew Hatch has an extensive background in agricultural science, including nearly all parts of cannabis production, as well as cannabis-specific research, plant pathology, plant tissue culture, and plant breeding. He previously owned Rikki's Tropicals, a Colorado nursery dedicated to the conservation of endangered orchid species. He is a frequent lecturer at universities and botanic gardens and actively mentors students in the fields of agricultural and horticultural science.

Mr. Hatch also previously directed research in the Scientific Operations department for Native Roots, a large vertically integrated cannabis dispensary chain. In this role, he led a team of scientists, driving process optimization, ensuring product safety, maximizing yields, developing high-throughput tissue culture protocols, and creating continuing education classes and training tools. The team also maintained a plant pathology lab for crop protection.

"Product risk in cannabis is still little understood by many operators in our industry, but it can cause serious human illness, loss of license, and cripple or destroy an unprepared business," said Andrew Hatch.

Mr. Hatch earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Soil and Crop Sciences: Plant Biotechnology, Genetics, and Breeding from Colorado State University and resides in Fort Collins.

"NCRPS has long represented that product risk was the leading threat to the projected cannabis market sustainability," said Rocco Petrilli, president and CEO of NCRPS. "Although it was always a major portion of our assessment and education process, the addition of Andrew to our team now allows for a focused approach which gives this risk the attention it deserves."

Mr. Hatch's addition strengthens NCRPS's existing team, which also includes Ian Stewart, an attorney with the Wilson Elser law firm, who is a thought leader in cannabis product risk avoidance and defense.

"Andrew has a rare combination of subject matter expertise, including botany, genetics, microbiology, and pathology, all with a specific focus on cannabis. The addition of Andrew to our team puts us as thought leaders for product safety and risk in the industry," said Alex Hearding, NCRPS Chief Risk Management Officer.

"NCRPS continues to extend its cannabis risk management market leader position with this focus," said Petrilli. "We knew we were early to this market but are now well positioned and scales to deliver our vital products and services to the industry."

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