In an era when police and prison reform is consistently being called for across the nation, and when cannabis legalization is sweeping the country at a rapid rate, a former prison facility in Warwick, New York is being turned into a cannabis testing facility. 

Now known for its prisons thanks to playing host to the fictional correctional facility in popular women’s prison drama Orange is the New Black, upstate New York is now looking to make the best of this old prison space by turning it into a testing site to fit the growing cannabis testing demand. 

The lab will be strategically located near the state’s cannabis belt, close to the Black Dirt region in southwestern Orange County. The prison originally closed in 2011, and before that time, it was a youth reform farm where troubled youth could work with farm animals. After the prison closed, the town of Warwick got the land back from the state to establish the Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park. As cannabis rose in popularity, Warwick officials realized the need for a lab site to test cannabis in the area. 

“We settled very quickly on a hemp development cluster in Warwick,” said Mike Sweeton, supervisor of the Town of Warwick, regarding the decision to make the spot cannabis-centric. 

The Lab

Kaycha Labs, the new lab that has just opened in the old prison site, is a 9,000-square-foot testing lab on the former Mid-Orange State Correctional Facility site. The lab officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Monday and is ready to begin testing for the area. 

Kaycha offers the most advanced facility of its kind in New York State for medical cannabis and hemp products, and they even offer a 48-hour turnaround time to ensure products are tested in a timely manner that keeps up with supply and demand. They also claim to provide testing services for potency, heavy metals, microbiology, and environmental contamination. Kaycha plans to expand on those options if given the proper approval. 

“Warwick has always been known for its agricultural background and its interest in technology, both of those do combine together in this type of facility. Then you have Warwick’s proximity to New York City, which is going to be really 80 percent of the market in New York State,” said Founder and CEO of Kaycha Labs Marco Pedone.

“We check for potency,” said Marco Pedone, the lab’s co-founder. “We look for pesticides, bio-toxins, and heavy metals.”

“We provide detailed and comprehensive Certificates of Analysis for all tests we perform in accordance with both state and federal regulations,” their website expands. “We develop and validate all testing methods utilized by our network of laboratories. These methods are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), International Standardization Organization (ISO), United States Department of Agriculture: Food Safety and Inspection Services, Association of Analytical Chemists (AOAC).” 

Cannabis will continue to boom and grow in New York and the services of Kaycha Labs will be in-demand as the need for more prisons dwindles with the advent of legalization.


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