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Michigan lab fights back in court after marijuana recall


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A marijuana lab licensed in Michigan is suing the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) over a recall that impacted nearly $230 million worth and 64,000 pounds of marijuana products in the state.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher M. Murray on Monday appeared to scold the MRA for its lack of clear communication about the matter.

Issued on Nov. 17, the recall involved more than 400 retail shops, and their customers, were impacted in some way.

Viridis Laboratories, which operates two separately licensed labs one being in Bay City and another in Lansing claim the recall is politically motivated. Because Viridis is so successful, handling up to 70% of all marijuana testing in the state, the MRA wants to “level the playing field,” according to the Viridis lawsuit filed in the Michigan Court of Claims on Nov. 22. The lawsuit also alleged the recall may be retribution for a formal administrative complaint Viridis filed Oct. 25 against the MRA, in part, for questions Viridis faced over its testing methods that regularly produce THC potency results in excess of 30%.

Cannabis with higher potency generally fetches higher prices from retail customers.

Viridis founders include three former Michigan State Police Forensic Division employees: Greg Michaud, Todd Welch and Michele Glinn.

The Viridis complaint was filed a day before MRA inspectors were expected to begin on-site audits at the Viridis lab locations.

The MRA issued a recall on most marijuana products Viridis labs tested between Aug. 10 and Nov. 16, calling the labs results “inaccurate” or “unreliable,”. It said the products must undergo new microbial testing, which looks for pathogens, yeast and mold.

Glinn, who is also Viridis’ chief science officer, testified Wednesday and said there was mass confusion after the recall. Her office was initially told they were cleared to retest recalled product, but the MRA was telling customers the opposite.

Glinn said her staff later worked through Thanksgiving weekend to comply with a checklist of demands from the MRA to improve the lab testing methods and get full clearance to continue operations.

Exhibits filed in the Court of Claims by Viridis, including emails exchanges with the MRA and results of on-site audits, identified significant procedural flaws in past testing methods. Viridis failed to keep logs necessary to validate test procedures, passed moldy samples that auditors identified as contaminated, failed to calibrate equipment as regularly as required and possessed untagged samples.

In order to test for the presence or growth of certain yeast, molds or pathogens, samples are placed in incubators for various lengths of time, usually between 24 and 72 hours, within designated temperature ranges.

The MRA audit found that Viridis labs weren’t using logs to track when samples were placed into and removed from incubators. It also found incubators weren’t keeping samples at the proper temperatures.

The lab personnel confirmed there were no logs, which Viridis argues are not required. Without logs, it’s impossible to tell when a sample was placed in the incubator, and a sample is more likely to pass testing if it is not stored for the full incubation period.

The recall occurred three weeks after the audits were conducted.

The MRA provided three options to retailers, growers and processors with recalled marijuana, none of them cheap: Destroy the product, have the product retested or send the product back to the license source so they may destroy or retest the marijuana. In the meantime, all of the recalled marijuana was placed on hold and unable to be sold.

Read More Here at MLive

Viridis Laboratories, LLC v Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency

Day 1 of Court (Start Time 38:00)

Court of Claims December 1, 2021

Day 2 of Court (Start Time 35:00)

Court of Claims December 2, 2021

Other News Sources

Labs sue Michigan regulator over marijuana recall – Detroit …https://www.freep.com › money › business › 2021/11/24
Nov 24, 2021 — Viridis labs claim the recall was motivated ‘by what appears to be the whims and political objectives’ of the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory …

Marijuana Testing Lab Sues Michigan Over Major Product …https://www.insurancejournal.com › news › 2021/11/29
3 days ago — Viridis Laboratories, with operations in Lansing and Bay City, said the “unjustified” recall last week caused an estimated $229 million …

Michigan lab fights back in court after becoming target of $230 …https://www.mlive.com › public-interest › 2021/12 › mich…
12 hours ago — Viridis Laboratories, which operates two separately licensed labs under similar ownership — one in Bay City and another in Lansing — claims the recall is …

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