Ryan Treacy, the owner of C4 Laboratories, a marijuana testing company in Mesa, Arizona, spoke with AZmarijuana.com about medical marijuana testing standards and plans for the future as testing becomes mandatory next year in Arizona because of Senate Bill 1494.
Ryan was an influential presence, along with the Arizona Cannabis Laboratory Association (ACLA) and George Griffith, in the fight to get SB 1494 passed by spending every day at the Arizona Capitol advocating for safe medicine for patients.
AZmarijuana.com: Why wasn’t testing included in AMMA?
Ryan: “As Will Humble said, there just wasn’t enough time. They were basically given 120 days to complete the language and that just wasn’t enough time to get testing requirements written. There weren’t enough labs at that time. We simply didn’t have the resources and time.”
AZmarijuana.com: What was it like advocating for the passage of SB 1494?
Ryan: “I was down at the capital every day fighting, advocating and working hard to ensure that we got this passed. It took a lot of my time and attention in fighting for the legislation to pass. There was a lot of opposition initially, but all stakeholders came together in the end in agreement of the best course of action.”
AZmarijuana.com: How important is mandatory cannabis testing for Arizona patients?
Ryan: “What we say and what we do has to be incredibly detailed and meticulous because that’s how much it matters. Patients need to know what they’re putting in their bodies. We need to be able to inform patients that these are the chemicals present in cannabis products and this is what they do. These chemicals aren’t present, so we know it’s safe. We need to empower patients with knowledge to have more efficacy in treating their ailments with cannabis.”
AZmarijuana.com: What can be done so that patients don’t get overwhelmed?
Ryan: “Patients aren’t educated enough. Many budtenders aren’t educated enough to make an appropriate recommendation to patients. Budtenders need to receive proper education too. Without this knowledge, patients might be improperly dosing.”
AZmarijuana.com: How can patients learn more about testing, what’s in cannabis and what their bodies might need?
Ryan: “C4 Labs offers education opportunities for patients to learn. We also gladly take the time to answer questions they have on samples they’ve brought in. C4’s philosophy is ‘Patient protection through true science.’ We provide the scientific information to them so they can see for themselves what their product/s are made of. We explain what the results mean. Science and data will help patients better understand what they’re putting in their bodies.”
AZmarijuana.com: What is C4 doing to prepare for mandatory testing and an influx of samples coming through the door?
Ryan: “We are already working on building out a facility that is 3 times the size of our current facility. We are ensuring that the steps we’re taking now, by reinvesting everything into this new facility, will meet and exceed state requirements to obtain accredited status. We are installing a new HVAC filtration system and better security, and addressing all environmental conditions that are critical for laboratory conditions.”
AZmarijuana.com: Do you expect a backlog of testing samples once testing is mandatory?
Ryan: “We are already working 7 days a week and we are prepared to add a 2nd shift. Of course, with anything new, a slight backlog could happen. We are already working on a plan to hopefully prevent a backlog, but it could happen. It’s not something we can anticipate 100% right now.”
AZmarijuana.com: What sets C4 apart from other labs?
Ryan: “We believe in full traceability, transparency and accountability. What that means is, whoever starts a test on a sample finishes that test. There is no handing off samples to others. The majority of our staff is full-time. We have brought on Dennis Wells. He worked for Cascadia Labs and the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission). He is one of the pioneers of lab testing. We are privileged to have him on our staff now. We are dedicated to being a leader in cannabis testing. Dennis will lead the path toward the future of C4 Labs and testing in Arizona. The trends and traditions of the industry will help companies to make the right decisions moving forward when it comes to incorporating testing costs into their business. Be able to educate patients better.”
AZmarijuana.com: What is the cost to patients if they want to have their cannabis products tested?
Ryan: “It depends on the type of test. For something like a simple potency test, we might only need a 2 – 3 gram sample. For concentrates, we typically need ½ gram to a full gram. For a broader analysis, we might need 4 – 5 grams. That being said, a simple analysis for potency purposes costs $50 – $100. More expansive tests including microbial, contaminants and heavy metals costs between $180 and $300. We do not charge first responders, pediatric patients, the terminally ill or veterans for testing – it is free of charge to them.”
AZmarijuana.com: We heard that C4 is now offering Vitamin E Acetate testing, a substance which is primarily used in black market products that US officials believe is causing vaporizer illnesses. Is that correct?
Ryan: “Yes, we are the only lab in Arizona that is offering Vitamin E Acetate testing. Our Vitamin E Acetate testing is done in-house. We’re not only testing THC and CBD vape products; we’ll also test nicotine vape products. It costs about $50 or $60.”
AP Photo/Chris Carlson