Cannabis Customer Q&A: Botanacor on the Importance of Accreditation

Colorado was among the first states to legalize cannabis products for medical use and the second state to legalize recreational cannabis use for adult use. As a result, Colorado has one of the best-established cannabis infrastructures in the US and boasts many highly trusted cannabis testing laboratories. Del Kreiser, Marketing Manager for Botanacor, kindly spoke with Accreditation Supervisor Anna Williams about their role in the cannabis industry and how accreditation plays a part in their ongoing commitment to quality.

Can you give me a summary of your company? 
Founded in 2014, Agricor Laboratories provides consistent and accurate lab results to the many companies within Colorado’s marijuana supply chain. In October of 2014, Botanacor was established with the same vision, but for the broader national hemp industry. Today, both companies have become leaders in the cannabis industry for third-party testing, helping cultivators and manufacturers confidently release products to market.

Cannabis businesses choose Agricor or Botanacor, not only because we follow cGMP and GLP practices in ISO/IEC 17025 accredited labs, but also because we have undergone intensive validation for our processes, equipment, and facility. They recognize that quality lab services are an important factor when producing differentiated, finished products.

Hemp growers/cultivators, extractors, wholesalers, and manufacturers - in Colorado and across the country - have come to depend on the reliable data we provide.

How did your company get involved in the cannabis testing space? 
Colorado passed Amendment 64 in 2012, becoming one of the first states to legalize adult-use marijuana. As a group of individuals with a background in pharmaceutical quality control testing and validation, Botanacor’s/Agricor’s founders investigated the possibility of opening a laboratory for marijuana testing. They quickly recognized gaps in this new testing space and found a way to improve industry-related lab deficiencies. To that end, they created a laboratory using the same quality systems and process controls found in the pharmaceutical industry.

How did you hear about A2LA and why did you initially choose A2LA as your accreditation body? 
Botanacor was the first hemp company in the United States to get accredited by A2LA. Early on, we realized that ISO accreditation was a way to differentiate our labs in the cannabis marketplace. In assessing the accreditation bodies available to us, we looked closely at other companies, their respective reputations, and the accreditation body they chose. We concluded that ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation was not only an opportunity to set our labs apart but, more importantly, a mechanism to continually improve our processes and procedures. Ultimately, we saw A2LA as the best fit for us.

What are some reasons why you have remained an A2LA customer? 
While A2LA is clearly recognized as the gold standard in ISO accreditation, we’ve remained a customer for a few other reasons as well. Not only is their service consistently outstanding, but we also appreciate the scrutiny and attentiveness of A2LA’s employees. We have chosen an accreditation body who will challenge us to be accountable, to prove the accuracy and efficacy of our laboratories and to keep us diligent in our future efforts.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential or current cannabis testing laboratory as they look into accreditation? 
If your laboratory is carrying out scientific processes correctly, accreditation will only reward your company. We held this belief when we worked in the pharmaceutical industry, and we believe it applies to the cannabis industry as well. The process of accreditation rewards ethical companies who are doing the right thing for their customers.  

How has your laboratory had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic? 
When the pandemic became a global issue in March, we took the necessary precautions internally, while doing everything possible to ensure our customers were still able to get their products to market. From testing residual solvents in CBD hand sanitizers to implementing rigorous sample submission protocols, both Agricor and Botanacor have adapted to the challenges COVID has created. 

With Botanacor’s CLIA accreditation, our employees have access to weekly COVID testing, to ensure the ongoing safety of our customers and co-workers.

Is there anything else that you would like to highlight about your company at this time? 
We are proud to have such a great professional staff at Agricor and Botanacor. Their commitment to improving the scientific analysis of cannabis while producing accurate data makes the work enjoyable and challenging.