In taxed and regulated cannabis markets there is always talk about the supply chain, but in the days before recreational cannabis laws there was a different chain that we relied on just as much as supply, and that was trust.
If you were involved on the supply side of things back in the day, odds are you had a homeboy here, or a honey over there that had a dude down the street that could get what you needed. Cash and daps exchanged, the deal went down, trust went up.
In today’s regulated market, that chain of trust is hard to build. Not only did the majority of our fellow legacy operators decide against the torturous process of becoming a licensed entity, but the market is full of weak links; frauds, boof-herders, Chads, and worse.
Then, of course, comes the matter of turnover. The California cannabis marketplace is not currently an easy one to survive in. If the lack of profit doesn’t sack a brand, a hiccup in compliance can be enough to trigger a costly backlash from state regulators in the form of fines or license suspensions.
Such was the case at the end of last year when one of our trusted links was temporarily lost.
Our full spectrum cannabis oil, for example, is a product that is generally therapeutic in nature, rather than recreational. So, of course, we want to be sure that it is not only strong but totally safe. Our long line of clean lab results from Cannasafe gives us that validation.
So, when an honest miscommunication with the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) led to a temporary license suspension for our lab of choice late last year, we were left with the same questions as many of our colleagues in the industry.
Cannasafe has been back in business since January of this year, helping us and others keep pushing forward, but we decided it was time for a trip to the lab itself to see what happened and what’s next for this industry leader.
CANNASAFE CONTINUES TO EVOLVE WITH THE INDUSTRY
Many consumers have an inherent cynicism for ‘legal weed’ and an even deeper distrust for the testing labs behind the scenes, but we have always recognized the need for certified, third-party lab testing not just for potency data, but for purity standards.
At Beard Bros Pharms we have been working with the crew at Cannasafe for years for our analytical needs, as far back as 2017, pre-dating the implementation of Prop 64.
One of the state’s busiest labs, volume-wise, Cannasafe is also among the most heavily audited testing labs in California, which they say they welcome.
Even if the occasional discrepancy is discovered, testing labs and regulatory authorities have had a long track record of working together to resolve the issue in a timely manner to keep this crucial stop on the cannabis supply chain from becoming a bottleneck.
It was one of these errors, routinely caught and remedied, that caused the BCC to order Cannasafe to temporarily stop issuing COAs (lab test results) late last year.
The issues in question by the BCC were clarified immediately by officials at the lab in follow-up correspondence with the regulatory agency.
The BCC acknowledged the rebuttal from the lab and the evidence provided and even gave Cannasafe a green light to re-sample the batch of product originally in question. To the crew at Cannasafe, this seemed like a tacit approval to get back to work.
With the Thanksgiving holiday and a global pandemic swirling into a perfect storm, Cannasafe decided to begin reporting test results once again after returning from the holiday. The BCC then shuttered the lab for the month of December 2020 for violating the stop order – an honest mistake that they acknowledge they made.
In a business where there is never a good time to take time to stop, breathe, and think about new and different ways to do the damn thing, the month off of the market proved to be a useful opportunity for the crew at Cannasafe to analyze itself for once.
Some executive restructuring took place and what they determined was that the industry is rapidly evolving and so, naturally, Cannasafe should be as well.
CANNASAFE COMES BACK BETTER THAN EVER
As with other stops on the supply chain, cannabis testing labs must balance customer service, marketing, regulatory compliance, staffing, and of course performing their actual tasks to produce results.
Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time in the cannabis space, pre- or post-legalization, knows that challenges arise daily and often from multiple angles.
2020 presented a yearlong challenge of its own. While cannabis was deemed ‘essential’ here in California, allowing the industry to keep operating during the pandemic, brands ranging from cultivation to retail were forced to deal with recurring staff turnover, and Cannasafe was no different in that regard.
However, now that the lab is back on solid ground with the BCC, the crew at Cannasafe was able to re-employ several key members of the lab’s original technical team, including former Chief Science Officer (and, in our opinion, one of the brightest minds in cannabis testing) Ini Afia who once again holds his original title as well as now being in an executive role with Cannasafe.
With the new executive team also came some useful capital which allowed Cannasafe to reinvest in itself to ensure that all instrumentation was on the cutting edge of lab testing technology.
This was validated by a voluntary third-party audit that came back flawless. This was all we needed to hear and so our products are once again flowing through Cannasafe to ensure that they are both strong and safe for you to enjoy.
CANNASAFE PLANS TO REDEFINE CONSISTENCY IN CANNABIS TESTING
The main reason why we chose to work with Cannasafe for our lab testing needs was that we recognized their commitment to push the bar higher for all cannabis-related lab testing.
By earning ISO/IEC accreditation in every facet of the tests they offer, Cannasafe has challenged its peers to do the same, and every time another lab achieves that goal, consistency and consumer trust rise.
With a sharper focus than ever before on consistency, Cannasafe is helping brands build the confidence to push new cultivars and products to the market. When we can rely on uniformity between our voluntary R&D testing and the state-mandated compliance testing, we can keep pushing forward and that is good for everyone.
What we love about our visits to Cannasafe is seeing just how much these men and women care about cannabis. On our last trip, we also sat down with Mr. Afia, specifically to talk about the scientific and technological advancements they have put in place in 2021 and he teased us with talk of FOUR new cannabinoids that the lab can now identify!
That certainly piqued our interest and if it does the same for you be sure to look for Part 2 of this article coming soon to www.beardbrospharms.com