Addison DeMoura, the co-founder and chief business development officer at Steep Hill Halent, a testing lab facility in several states, is one of the most eagerly anticipated speakers at this weekend’s New England Cannabis Convention at the Castle at Park Plaza in Boston. This comes as no surprise, as Massachusetts cannabis enthusiasts and patients have had to spend a lot of time and effort on the political side of things, and can probably use some talk about strains and applications. On that note, I reached out to DeMoura to discuss his company and coming home to Boston.
Did you grow up in the Boston area?
Yes, I lived in the Boston area back in the ‘90s, in Newton. I left and did some traveling before landing for a few years in Boulder, Colorado. In 1998, I moved to California. Currently I’m living in the valley, outside of Oakland.
Steep Hill is recognized as a leader in cannabis testing. How did you get into this business?
I’ve been in the weed business pretty much my whole life, at least since 1998 and even before that. Steep Hill was the very first cannabis analysis lab, when Bush was in office, which was admittedly a little scary to be the first during that period of time. When you are the only business in this field, it can be a concern. Since then we’ve grown, a 2012 merger with Halent teamed us up with a Washington and Colorado-licensed regulated laboratory.
How much business is the company doing and what’s next for Steep Hill?
We’re projected to bring in $5,000,000 this year and [we’re] confident that we will hit our goal with new product line launches. Very exciting is our new genetic sequencer which will allow cultivators to determine the sex within 14 days of sprout. And then there’s our QuantaCann2, which allows collectives, manufacturers, and dispensaries to test potency, strain type, and much more, on-site [and] almost instantly, within 80 seconds. Steep Hill is also very proud to be working the government of Jamaica to establish regulatory and testing frameworks for legal cannabis [there].
How did QuantaCann2 get featured on “CSI”?
One of our top science guys was down in San Diego and he met the guys producing the show who were looking for science, forensics, the latest technology, which we have. The show decided to use the QC2 unit in an episode plot line to solve a murder in a dispensary.
What is your reason for returning to Boston?
We’re here to lend our support, that’s why we’ll be there. And Northeastern Institute of Cannabis being a part of it, I’ve got family involved with NIC, and Mickey Martin is a friend. We want to help as much as possible in Mass. We’re not officially doing business [in Mass] because we don’t want to spend money on a sit-and-wait proposition. We’d love to open a new lab there but we recognize the regulatory hurdles that have stopped that from happening. Attending this convention, we are hoping to help move it along. We’ll be there to support the movement, but at the same time, we know it’s wait-and-see for now. It’s nice to come home. I do get back east more often than in the past to see family, but there was a stretch when that wasn’t always a real option. I worked many years to be able to come back home. And it’s nice to do it being recognized as a success back in Boston.
If our state government actually implemented the medical marijuana program as intended, and you opened a lab here, how many jobs would Steep Hill hope to bring?
There’s sales staff, scientific staff, administrative staff, in Oakland we have 25 to 35 employees. A full-time lab staff, I would expect similar in Massachusetts. The population can support it.