Marijuana Advocates Condemn Federal Raid Of Denver Potency Lab

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Photo: Westword
Cannabis potency testers Full Spectrum Laboratories were raided by federal agents Wednesday. Marijuana samples were seized, but no arrests were made.

‚ÄčFederal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration earlier this week raided a Denver potency testing laboratory and seized medical marijuana samples.

Cannabis advocates say the federal raid is the latest example of continued official harassment of the medical marijuana industry, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.
The raid of Full Spectrum Laboratories happened on Wednesday, according to Betty Aldworth, the lab’s outreach director. Aldworth said federal agents took dozens of medical marijuana samples, both small amounts of pot and test tubes of “extraction fluid,” but left the lab’s equipment.
No employees were arrested.
Aldworth was at the State Capitol to watch lab co-owner Bob Winnicki testify about State Senator Chris Romer’s new medical marijuana bill when both Full Spectrum employees got an email letting them know the DEA had “stopped by” the lab, reports Michael Roberts at Westword.
By the time Aldworth and Winnicki got back to the lab, “it was full of DEA agents” and other local law enforcement hangers-on who spent the next several hours seizing all the marijuana they could find.


Photo: Kevin Brooks
Bob Winnicki, founder and head scientist at Full Spectrum Laboratories, tests a marijuana sample for potency.

‚ÄčNeither a DEA spokesman nor a U.S. attorney’s office spokesman would confirm or deny that the raid took place, Ingold reports.
“We cannot comment on ongoing investigations,” DEA spokesman Mike Turner said.
Rob Corry, an attorney for the lab who has been active as a medical marijuana advocate, also declined to comment.
Aldworth said lab employees have no idea why DEA agents raided the lab. She said the lab is legally designated as a caregiver for several medical marijuana patients in Colorado.
Last year U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new Justice Department policy that federal authorities wouldn’t seek to arrest people who are in compliance with their state’s medical marijuana laws.
Holder said, however, that federal authorities would continue to arrest those who were believed to be using the laws as a cover for illegal activity.
“The advice that we received suggested we were doing everything we needed and more to be legal,” Aldworth said.
Fortunately, according to Aldworth, all of the samples sent to the lab had already been tested and would have eventually been discarded.
“We’re not shutting down,” Aldworth said. “We are as determined as we were at the beginning of the day yesterday to keep providing this service to Coloradans who need it. We’re not going anywhere. We’re still going to be here.”
The lab, which opened in November and has received lots of media attention, conducts tests on marijuana samples to determine their potency. The tests help dispensaries provide accurate dosing guidelines for patients.
“It seemed, based on their questioning, they thought we were doing other things here,” Aldworth said.
Dispensaries deliver small samples (about 500 milligrams) of marijuana they get from growers to Full Spectrum, which uses high-performance liquid chromatography to determine their potency. The tests reveal amounts of THC and other cannabinoids, the active ingredients of cannabis.
The service costs $120 per test, or $60 per test for 40 or more samples.
The company has been receiving more than 100 samples a week, and is already considering new ventures such as a certification process for marijuana growers.’
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