Viridis Laboratories Accredited by NIHC Amidst Controversy

November 30th, 2023 Business & Industry Ryan Spegal
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Michigan-based Viridis Laboratories, a cannabis testing company, recently received accreditation from the National Industrial Hemp Council of America (NIHC). This recognition authorizes Viridis to conduct a range of tests on hemp products, including assessments for pesticides, heavy metals, potency, microbiology, and residual solvents. The NIHC accreditation is a significant endorsement, indicating that Viridis adheres to internationally recognized standards, which are valued by global regulators. It also underscores the company's dedication to consumer and patient health and safety.

Greg Michaud, CEO of Viridis Laboratories, expressed his gratitude for the recognition, emphasizing the company's commitment to delivering safe, high-quality hemp products. This recognition from the NIHC serves as a confirmation of the company's adherence to the highest quality and safety standards.

For a laboratory to be recognized by the NIHC, it must first obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Viridis achieved this certification for its Lansing and Bay City labs in October, becoming the only cannabis testing company in Michigan to successfully pass A2LA's rigorous testing procedures at that time. The A2LA is internationally recognized in the United States for providing comprehensive laboratory accreditation services.

Despite these recent achievements, Viridis Laboratories has faced significant controversy and accusations. Allegations against the company include insufficient lab supervision, adoption of non-approved potency testing processes, and failure to follow approved microbial testing processes. Viridis has responded to these accusations with counter-claims, including allegations of falsehoods in reports by CRA investigators and criticisms of CRA employees' conduct and qualifications. The company has also highlighted inconsistencies and confusion in the application of internal CRA policies.

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) has described the early days of legalization as "the Wild Wild West," focusing initially on assisting licensed businesses in understanding regulations rather than strict enforcement. The CRA has admitted that using other labs for quality checks is not ideal and is working towards establishing its own reference laboratory.

In the scientific aspect, CRA backs its policies with studies, such as one indicating that only 1% of all cannabis should exceed 27% THC potency. However, Viridis has been accused of manipulating THC levels by adding kief back into homogenized test samples and using smaller than standard sample sizes, leading to potential inaccuracies.

Furthermore, the Viridis Lansing lab has been reported to detect mold 89% less frequently than other labs, attributed to inadequate analysis time, passing visibly moldy flower, and poor incubation log maintenance.

Initially, Viridis was known for producing unusually low potency test results, which also raised questions about its sample preparation methods.

These controversies, including humorous instances during virtual meetings and debates over evidence categorization, highlight the complex and evolving nature of cannabis regulation and testing in Michigan.

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