Judge rules in favor of Michigan cannabis testing lab for MRA product recall

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A cannabis safety laboratory in Michigan is suing the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) regarding a product recall that stripped the company of 64,000 pounds of cannabis products the majority of which was flower valued at $230 million.

On Tuesday, November 30, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher M. Murray criticized MRA for its poor communication on the subject.

Issued on November 17 against Viridis Laboratories, the cannabis recall was so expansive that it impacted more than 400 retail stores and their customers.

Viridis Laboratories believes recall is politically motivated 

Two uniquely-licensed laboratories are operated by Viridis Laboratories. The company prides itself on producing what it claims to be high-quality cannabis products in Bay City and in Lansing. 

According to company officials, the MRA’s cannabis product recall is politically motivated. Based on details of the lawsuit, which was submitted in the Michigan Court of Claims on November 22, MRA is trying to “level the playing field” because Viridis is responsible for handling as much as 70 percent of all cannabis testing across the state.

The MRA has also been accused of treating the company unfairly after a formal administrative complaint was filed by Viridis on October 25. That complaint highlights a set of questions that Viridis was asked regarding its testing methods for detecting THC potency over 30 percent. Generally, cannabis that contains more THC is priced higher.

Interestingly, Viridian filed the complaint just one day before MRA investigators were anticipated to carry out on-site audits at the company’s two labs.

Viridis’ lab test results deemed “unreliable” by MRA

The MRA requested a recall on the majority of products that Viridis Labs submitted for testing between August 10 and November 16. According to claims from the MRA, the results were “inaccurate” or “unreliable.” Despite these claims, the agency did not provide any solid grounds for the cannabis product recall.

Moving forwards, the MRA has urged the cannabis laboratory to conduct new microbial testing a type of test that looks for mold, pathogens and yeast. It should be noted that the recall did not include products created from THC extracts, which do not necessitate microbial testing.

In an attempt to receive full clearance and be granted the opportunity to push forward with operations, Viridis staff dealt with a long checklist of needs from the MRA to ameliorate existing lab testing techniques.

According to exhibits that were submitted in the Court of Claims by Viridis, including on-site audit results and emails between the lab and the MRA, notable procedural flaws were discovered in previous testing methods. 

Allegations from the MRA specify that the laboratory did not maintain the essential records to prove the legitimacy of its testing procedures, nor did Viridus properly calibrate its equipment as frequently as it should have. In addition to this, the company is believed to have wrongfully passed mold-tainted cannabis samples, which could seriously harm consumer health.

Viridis was founded by three former-serving Michigan State Police Forensic Division employees: Greg Michaud, Michele Glinn and Todd Welch.