It was a funny thing, at age 52, to quit my steady job to come work at my former neighbor’s hemp farm. I had just been accepted into a masters program to get my teaching credential, and wasn’t so sure how I felt about working in a recently legalized industry. But I like adventure, had known and trusted Seth for 14 years, and didn’t really want to teach high school chemistry, so I leaped…and landed into a dream job.
I am the chemist at Oregon CBD. I primarily do in-house analysis for 19 (!) cannabinoids by HPLC, or high performance liquid chromatography. It’s a large responsibility. All the breeding, genomic sequencing, and statistics don’t mean a thing if the cannabinoid content is wrong. Seth calls me “the final answer,” which makes me nervous and proud. Because so many people depend on the results of my testing, it is imperative that I do my best work every single day. As an in-house R&D lab, we don’t need to be accredited through regulatory agencies like ORELAP. But I act like we are. Every run is documented, standards are in date and calibration tables have pass/fail specifications, I run duplicate samples, inject a calibration check every 10 samples, use only traceable and validated equipment, perform and document preventative maintenance, etc. I am also an active member in the AOAC and ACS Cannabis Groups. I attended a cannabis analysis conference and method validation training course in Maryland early this year, where accredited lab directors were floored that Oregon CBD was there to learn and collaborate. But the brothers and I think it’s important to be leaders and active participants in the industry that is gaining public trust and acceptance. Ethan Russo told participants at the Cannabis Science Expo last year to always do our best and honest work because “the world is watching us.” That’s why I show up every day.
I love my job! I work with my friends, for my friends. It’s a crack team of scientists and farmers. I’ve been a chemist for over 26 years and this is the best group I’ve had the pleasure to work with. We work hard and laugh a lot. The science is cutting edge, the ethics beyond reproach, and the support we get from the hemp community drives us on. The folks here think I do mysterious things in my lab, but I don’t. It’s just good chromatography, years in practice, to support their efforts to bring you the best damn seeds in the known universe.