Why are 21 families now unemployed? Why is the oldest run cannabis testing lab in Washington State closed for business?
I stand with Analytical 360 but before you go off on a tangent about lab quality and standards know I work in the calibration industry, it’s my job to discern right from wrong, valid vs. Invalid. As a technician and cannabis enthusiast, this is up my alley.
My calibration resume is as follows; I received my training through 10 years in the Navy. I started as a C.A.S.S technician and reenlisted for the calibration N.E.C. After the military, I supported various missile systems for Raytheon in Tucson, Az. Once the heat got to us, I looked for employment in the Pacific Northwest and began working in the third-party calibration industry. The positions I’ve held have been from technician to lab manager; presently I run a lab for a company that rhymes with Skin So Soft.
With all this said, I know what I’m fucking talking about and when I say I know what I’m talking about, I mean there is no good reason for the closure of this lab.
I’m going to try my best in the following paragraphs to explain the lack proper regulation presently in place, and how closing the oldest running lab in Seattle is deliberate on The WSLCB’s part (Did I mention these are not elected officials but people placed on a board that is supposed to protect the interest of what they call “Stakeholders”, not the public’s interest. This will come into play later as we talk about the testing requirements for cannabis).
The Monopoly of Labs
There is no rule saying the lab cannot test anything else but in reality, the WSLCB cutting of Analytical 360 from the Washington State Cannabis Industry is like taking a fish out of water, it’s not good. They are not being punished for fabricating numbers despite what some say has happened or happens.
As someone who works in the checks and balances industry, I’ve been through 1 ACLASS and 3 A2LA audits, I know of companies presently making a shit ton of money based off a piece of paper that says you’re in accordance with.
One with enough money can wake up and say they’re a lab, the thing that matters are the technicians, the procedure, and if the process has repeatability. If all these fall in line, you can trust the percentages. And here we have another issue, each lab with its different process will have different potencies, yet Analytical 360 is being punished for something that should have and would have been caught within the past eight years of service.
I am ashamed to hear of the conduct by the inspectors of The RJ Lee Group; the accreditation process is supposed to be a chance for a lab to learn and get better, not argue and shutdown over math that is debatable by people with P.h.ds.
If a lab is open about its process, it’s a lab you can trust. I’ve been in plenty positions where the audit is like a shell game where one real technician performs all the work while the bosses distract through conversation because they may be missing a standard or even an understanding of what they’re looking at. Keep in mind that these auditors get paid on average 1k a day which means they have your interest at heart and don’t mind staying as long as possible but I question the integrity of the RJ Lee Group when there is no competition.
The WSLCB has not only cornered the storefront market, but they’ve managed to restrict the qualifying bodies thus creating a monopoly on the lab market. I question whose best interest the inspectors are looking out for, especially when Analytical 360 has proven via their lab standards that what the WSLCB has passed for human consumption is not the quality that most seek.
There is personal grievance between Analytical 360 and The WSLCB because A360 was performing test not required by The WSLCB for things like pesticides, molds, and yeast, things that all good consumers should care about but some don’t because hey, there are cigarettes.
We have several things wrong here; the auditing group is demanding that their process is “The Process” that’s not how science and quality work. You need competition to create the environment where those of real quality will survive. There’s also the group of people in charge of a plant that they still don’t have a clue about, in fact, some of the board members spent their time prosecuting people for the plant while drinking on the weekends.
As long as The WSLCB only allows one group to be the accrediting body, there will always be a lab monopoly controlled by The WSLCB. There will continually be these hostile work situations as laid out in letters of complaints and this is not acceptable in any industry.
The following hyperlinks are letters of complaints held by the staff of Analytical 360.
Caitlin M. Reece, Method Development Specialist
Paul D. Matthews, Ph.D., Laboratory Director and Chief Science Officer, Analytical 360
Simone Lobdell, QA Designee and Methos Development Specialist
John Brown, Co-Founder, and CTO
One of the biggest arguments that defeated medical marijuana in Washington State was the claim that the industry was unregulated. Though this is somewhat true (I feel regulation makes the consumer informed, this present model doesn’t), it’s not 100% accurate. During the last days of medical many growers and dispensaries were testing their products through Analytical 360, the only cannabis oriented testing lab in Washington at the time.
In fact, the biggest complaint dispensary owners had was it took too long for the results to get back. This was because there was only one lab. As people demanded to know what was in their flower, concentrates, and edibles, other labs came about but Analytical 360 was the first and longest-running lab in Washington State. Besides being the first to want to provide cannabis testing in Washington State, Analytical 360 was pivotal in establishing requirements that should be looked at, as seen in the below letter from the head of The WSLCB at the time, Randy Simmons.
As much as I wish to keep writing I must part ways to maintain the day job but I wish to leave you with some thoughts until tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be publishing the audit findings with replies from Analytical 360.
How can a lab run for eight years, 7 to the public, with multiple industry accolades, previously audited by the same team four years prior, and different groups in between, but be found 20 violations (none of which that were gross violations) worth closing down in 2018?