By Rita Thompson
Featured Image Source: Studio McDermott
“Science is extremely difficult. Science is complex. Science is totally badass.”
From the point of harvest, to the products hitting dispensary shelves, cannabis testing labs are the glue holding this industry together. Assisting licensed producers to bring their product to the legal market, as well as understanding the components in the raw material, testing labs keep the cannabis industry running safely and smoothly.
Founded in Oregon, and recently expanding to Sacramento, Green Leaf Lab is on a mission to do just that. CEO Rowshan Reordan has been a part of the cannabis culture since before she can remember, giving her a different perspective on cannabis as a whole.
As a second generation grower who decided to open a testing lab during the height of medical legalization, it’s safe to say she knows the ins-and-outs of the industry. In the nine years since launching Green Leaf Lab, Reordan has, one account at a time, built the largest, most respected lab in Oregon. Notably, though, is her latest triumph in expanding Green Leaf Lab’s influence through the opening of an 8,000 square foot, state-of-the-art, ISO 17025 accredited facility in Sacramento. With this new location comes the hope to service the Californian cannabis community with the same amount of success they have provided within the Oregon market.
As the industry continues to grow at light speed, testing labs are more important than ever. Testing not only ensures that food and beverage products pass safety standards for consumers, but further gives important information to clients regarding the growing and manufacturing process.
Testing labs like Green Leaf share vital information on potentially harmful contaminants.
“Cannabis and hemp analytical labs perform the same function. We test for pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals, terpenes, cannabinoids and microbiological contaminants, among other tests,” Reordan states.
But, How Does it All Work?
Products are brought to the laboratory for testing after a sampling, reviewing and confirmation process is completed.
“Depending on the product and the testing request, the sample will then be prepared for instrumentation,” Reordan explains, “We use multiple pieces of instrumentation depending on the test performed.”
By using different instruments for various kinds of testing, the lab team can ensure the accuracy of their testing process and ensuing results.
“Within just a few days, the testing is complete, data is reviewed, and the results are emailed to our clients,” she notes.
As for harvest season, Green Leaf Lab faces a heightened rush of products for testing. But geared with seasoned professional laboratory staff, they are the utmost prepared.
“We have the infrastructure and are committed to maintaining our current turn-around of three-to-five business days during harvest season,” Reordan states.
Separating Green Leaf Lab from those started by investment firms, or based in other types of analytics, is Reordan’s deep-rooted love and experience with the plant.
“Cannabis has been a part of my life for years,” she explains, “I still remember being a little girl and hiking into a remote, small river valley in the Emerald Triangle [in Northern California] and overhearing the adults talking about the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting and all the raids going on,” Reordan says of her experience with cannabis. “I used to hotbox with my best friends in my VW bug in high school and rock out to Cypress Hill’s I Wanna Get High.”
Matching her passion for cannabis with her inherited green thumb, Reordan knew she was destined for a career in the industry. “My mother used to give me sad and dying plants and I would bring them back to life,” she says, “Having the experience of growing cannabis coupled with my love of it, makes my job running a lab so important to me because those we serve are a part of my people and my community.”
Back when she grew medical cannabis, one of Reordan’s patients who suffered from HIV shared with her the negative impact that black market cannabis had on his health and well-being.
“Educated as an attorney, I wanted evidence and realized that science and testing would create helpful evidence in understanding the compounds in cannabis and therefore a safe product,” Reordan explains. “That is when the idea of creating a cannabis analytical laboratory was born.”
Green Leaf Lab’s history stems from hard work and dedication. Striving to give anyone interested an opportunity to be equipped with more knowledge about the product they grow, Reordan set out to create a lab that could equip producers and consumers with more knowledge about the plant.
Since Green Leaf Lab officially opened in 2011, the company has remained focused on education and quality testing. To achieve this, the lab team spends time with their client’s problem solving, answering questions about test results, and more.
“We take pride in providing quality and accurate testing,” Reordan explains.
Notably, though, as a woman in a mostly male-dominated industry, she faces the typical obstacles that many leading ladies experience so often. As she puts it, being a pioneer can be a lonely path.
“There have been men in this industry that have been my biggest advocates and supporters, whom I have such love and respect for,” she adds. “There have also been those who have been disrespectful and wanted to see me fail.”
Regardless of such obstacles and setbacks, being able to look around and realize she’s surrounding herself with amazing men who appreciate and support a badass woman makes it all worthwhile.
And for other women interested in entering the cannabis industry, Reordan warns that it is not a place for the faint of heart. “You must be a warrior. You can never give up, never quit, and always keep your eye on the end goal,” she says.
For more information, visit www.greenleaflabs.com or call (916) 924-5227.