2019: A Year in Review

Last year, we at MCR Labs predicted 2019 would be a busy stage in the industry’s evolution. At the time, it was clear the community would grow and big changes were on the horizon, so we braced ourselves for what was sure to be an exciting year.

Between cannabis’ surge in popularity, the rise of hemp and CBD, the vaping-related lung injury outbreak, and the groundbreaking research on the plant’s lesser-known properties like flavonoids, we certainly weren’t disappointed. 

Here at the lab, our scientists have been busier than ever. As more dispensaries and cultivation centers have come online, we’ve been steadily scaling our operations, purchasing more analytical instruments, and hiring new laboratory technicians to keep up with the influx of samples and keep our turnaround time as quick as possible–still 2-5 business days!

As a cannabusiness, we’ve doubled in size this year. Pretty good for a locally owned and operated establishment. Meanwhile, our sister lab in Pennsylvania, PCR Labs, obtained their first ISO accreditation and officially began testing samples for the state’s medical program.  

2019 wasn’t all sunshine and roses, however, as it started off a bit rocky for us due to an incident regarding the less-than-proper disposal of a batch of laboratory waste. This mishap forced us to reevaluate some of our operating procedures and resulted in a number of positive changes surrounding security and safety at our facility. While we regret being a source of negative attention for the cannabis community, we’re glad the incident could serve as an opportunity to step our game up by improving our operations in many ways.

Through close work with regulators, third-party auditors, and new hires reviewing our procedures, we’ve adopted industry-leading practices to ensure nothing similar can occur again.  By facing our vulnerabilities head on, 2019 saw us secure our place in the industry as a model facility for cannabis testing so that we can continue to advance public safety here in MA and someday possibly beyond. 

Then just as things began to calm down over the summer, reports began to emerge concerning vaping-related lung injuries that had been connected to e-cigarettes and cannabis vape products. As the CDC and FDA began investigations, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker instituted a four-month ban on all vape products, including e-cigarettes and legal cannabis vape products sold in dispensaries.

As soon as the CDC announced the additive Vitamin E Acetate (VEA) as a possible cause, our Sci-Ops team set out to develop a method to test for the substance. Within a month we had a validated screen that could detect and quantify the presence of VEA, and we were able to begin offering this test to the public for free and also assist in the Cannabis Control Commission’s investigation into vape cart ingredients. 

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the outbreak, and from the events of 2019 as a whole. The past 12 months have been full of discovery, missteps, surprises, frustration, and most importantly, progress. And as cannabis advocates at heart and scientists by nature, we at MCR Labs couldn’t have been more excited by it all. 

Heading into a new chapter, we’re feeling more motivated than ever to keep learning all we can about this incredible plant and sharing that knowledge as it emerges. We’re excited and prepared to continue championing patient and consumer rights and welfare. Through accurate & efficient data production and consumer education, MCR Labs will remain the public’s biggest advocate through 2020 and all the years to come.

Thank you all and Happy New Year. Cheers!

Keep Reading
How emerging technology could improve pesticide analysis in cannabis January 15, 2020 | |
The Making of MCR December 11, 2019 | |
What Is “Cannabis Testing” Exactly? November 26, 2019 | |
What we know about the vape crisis November 13, 2019 | |
Starting with community: C3RN leads the way October 23, 2019 |

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