Science of marijuana propels founder of Santa Rosa’s Pure Analytics cannabis lab
Petaluma native Samantha Miller left her corner-office job at a corporate laboratory in 2010 to start Pure Analytics, a cannabis testing laboratory based in Santa Rosa near the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.
By her count, Pure Analytics was the third laboratory of its type in California, the fourth in the country.
Miller, the chief scientist and president of Pure Analytics, plans to vote no on Proposition 64 even though she has long believed marijuana should be decriminalized.
She is a card-carrying medical marijuana user. Her husband, Jason Bruhn, “had probably one of the first recommendations in California” after medical marijuana was legalized in 1996, Miller said. They live in Guerneville and grew pot before starting Pure Analytics.
“Cannabis had always been part of my life, but as an adult I had a bifurcated existence,” said Miller, 39, referring to the days when her corporate career and pot-growing home life were mismatched. “So, for me, moving into this part of my career represented breaking down those barriers. It was OK to be me, both at work and at home.”
Miller and Bruhn risked their savings to start one of the early laboratories at a time when she said they had to convince dispensaries to test for mold, fungus and pesticides.
Her first clients were Sonoma County’s OrganiCann and Sacramento-based Unity Non Profit Collective. Miller took a conservative approach to the business, never accepting venture capital or taking out a loan, and relying on couriers to safely transport samples to and from her lab. Miller said her company survived a boom of laboratories in 2011.
“For those of us who have been in the industry and watched the cycles of federal letters and dispensary crackdowns, it’s an exciting time, a time of greater permissions, a time when it’s safe to make investments in your company and grow your company,” Miller said.
Today, most of her customers are farming collectives, in addition to San Francisco dispensaries SPARC on Mission Street and Grass Roots on Post Street. None of her clients - mostly small craft farmers in Mendocino and Humboldt counties - are excited about Prop. 64, she said.
It limits possession to about one ounce, or 28.5 grams, of marijuana for people age 21 and older. That limit, for Miller, is “a show stopper.”
“I hate to see mostly young people and people of color persecuted by the criminalization of possession,” Miller said.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.