Cannabis Laboratory Committee

The FOCUS Laboratory Committee develops cannabis-specific standards for laboratories that process cannabis samples. The standards provide guidance for management responsibilities, worker training and credentials, laboratory environment, equipment and facilities, quality control, record keeping and reporting, lab methodologies, complaints management, conflict of interest, security and access, storage and worker health and safety.


Stephen Goldner

Committee Chair

Steve Goldner was the supervising forensic toxicologist at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, NYC, who helped develop the first chromatography laboratory tests for drug screening. Steve then went on to develop the first oral liquid dose formulation for methadone which was used in as standard treatment in clinics across the US as a way to move people away from heroin addiction. Steve has worked as an FDA attorney in the drug and medical device industry, getting over 230 medical devices and drugs approved while advising multiple grant and technology transfer groups.


Dr. Gary Starr

Dr. Gary Starr is a practicing ER physician in Minnesota. Previously Gary has served in the Air Force in several medical capacities.  Dr. Starr has been involved at the political/ legislative arena for Emergency Medicine on both the state, and national levels. One of Gary’s less traditional medical interests is the development of medical cannabis as a viable alternative to standard pharmaceutical options for various ailments.  He and a partner started one of the first Minnesota registered medical cannabis manufacturing facilities.  Dr. Starr continues to work in the business/science/political arena in an effort to move the medical cannabis industry forward.


Binga Talabi

Since 2005, Binga has served as the Senior Water/Wastewater Process Control Chemist for the City of Scottsdale. His extensive education includes a N.D. in Drug and Chemical Technology, a B.S. in Chemistry, and two M.S. degrees in Computer Information Systems, and International Environmental Technology and Sustainability. Binga’s previous work developing methods for site remediation, and identifying and quantifying hazardous volatile compounds in waste disposal for state and federal agencies, make him uniquely qualified to help develop standards in this nascent cannabis industry. Binga is a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA).


Jeremy Applen

Jeremy Applen entered the cannabis arena with a background in pharmaceutical research and development, including experience gained at Pfizer and the Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Pharmacy Coordinating Center, Jeremy founded one of the first cannabis labs in the nation to gain state certification. Since that time he has worked closely with government regulators and numerous cannabis organizations both nationally and internationally, to resolve significant issues related to regulations, product quality and product safety.


John Mackay

John MacKay earned a B.A. in Chemistry from St. Lawrence University, and Ph.D. from the University of Vermont in chemistry focused on the synthesis for cancer fighting molecules using a cyclic-phosphazene backbone.  After positions teaching organic, biochemistry and analytical courses, at Davidson College, Lyndon State College and UVM as well as supervising grant based funded student research projects, Mr. MacKay joined Waters Corporation in 1983.  His career has included many roles in product development and now heads up the newly formed Strategic Technology team for the Americas Business Operations.  He is widely recognized as scientific expert in application of supercritical fluid for extraction and chromatography across a wide range of application spaces including the botanical space.