LANSING, Mich. — Their background is in forensic science but three former Michigan State Police lab technicians are taking their skills and applying them to a new industry right here in Lansing.
Todd Welch, Greg Michaud and Michele Glinn are all retired from the Michigan State Police.
The three worked in the forensic science division, but, when Michigan’s cannabis industry opened up, they saw an opportunity and jumped at it, starting Viridis Laboratories.
“We thought that this industry, we could carry over our experiences in forensic science into the testing process for the health and safety of those who are taking cannabis for medicinal use or for recreational use," Welch said.
The venture has been a success. Right now they have two locations and employ more than 30 people.
Welch says although there are differences, the reason they do the work is very similar to what it was in the forensic science division.
“With this particular industry, you now it’s the general public that we are providing a health and safety issue for. There are some parallels there because again as a state police officer our function was to make sure that we protect and keep people and property safe," Welch said.
Growers and producers contract the company to test their products.
Chief Science officer and partner Michele Glinn was enthusiastic explaining the work they do.
“Those are called the Geno/Grinders and what those are used for is to take the samples when they come in and grind them up into a homogeneous powder we can then use to test,” Glinn said, talking about one of the tools of their trade.
And those machines are really being put to work.
Right now, Viridis tests about 250,000 pounds of cannabis each year.
A cannabis flower sample will go through at least six different tests before getting the lab’s seal of approval.
“A flower that needs full compliance needs potency testing. So it tells us who much THC content is in the flower. It needs water activity. It needs foreign matter. It needs pesticide analysis. Heavy metal analysis, microbial analysis. And that’s all,” Glinn said.
Glinn, Michaud and Welch say they are hoping to expand, opening more laboratories and hiring more people in the near future.
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