First cannabis testing lab company to expand into Illinois

On Thursday, Steep Hill, the United States’ first commercial cannabis testing lab, announced it was expanding into Illinois with a new licensee partner. Illinois was the 11th state to legalize an adult-use cannabis program (in 2019) and the first to legalize adult-use by an act of state legislature, along with the medical program established in 2014.

Steep Hill Illinois will be led by a team of experienced, reliable cannabis industry veterans combined with successful entrepreneurs, strategists and investors, Steep Hill said in a press release. Steep Hill has a history of testing and analyzing medical and recreational cannabis to ensure compliance with current safety standards.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Steep Hill Illinois’ passionate and visionary team,” Steep Hill CEO, Nigel Stobart, said in a statement. “With their success in serial business ventures and commitment to patient and consumer safety with testing, we believe we will see this group expand their horizons quickly.”

Steep Hill aims to provide consistency of quality testing, customized technology and state-of-the-art equipment, the company said in a press release.

Steep Hill Illinois was founded by Nick Etten, John Tinsley and Matt Grabowski. Etten, an Illinois native, most recently served on the executive leadership team at Acreage Holdings, a leading multi-state cannabis operator (MSO), where he led government affairs, policy, and strategy as the SVP of External Affairs. Etten also founded the Veterans Cannabis Project, an organization aimed at changing the conversation about medical cannabis veterans’ cannabis access.

Tinsley was most recently a Partner with EY-Parthenon, a leading global strategy consultancy. Grabowski has launched several businesses nationally in the fitness, health and waste management sectors.

Steep Hill Illinois will be available to support laboratory and other production activities in 2022.

“We are currently building out the lab, which will be strategically placed in Ottawa, IL within a 90-minute drive of the largest MSOs in Illinois,” Tinsley said.

Steep Hill Illinois will provide the full-screen of Illinois-regulated tests including cannabinoids, pesticides, heavy metals and more.

“We will also provide research and development testing services for cultivators and processors; supporting our partners in the development of new products and supporting their growth,” Tinsley stated.

Shepard Price