DPX Technologies, Hamilton Company and Richland County Sheriff’s Department published an article in Forensic Magazine that describes the process by which they developed robust testing for cannabis analysis. The automated workflow allows the department’s crime laboratory to maintain focus on public safety while supporting the burgeoning industrial hemp industry and requires minimal additional employees to support the testing.
The controlled substance act of 1970 banned cannabis of any kind. However, the farm bill of 2018 enabled states to evaluate industrial hemp production once again. In South Carolina, general assembly legislation (11.3559) created a pilot research program that allowed for the cultivation of limited amounts of industrial hemp in order to evaluate the feasibility of commercialization of such hemp-derived products as rope, textiles, food, plastics and biofuel, to name a few. Marijuana, another cannabis varietal, is still illegal under both state and federal law. Chemically, the main difference between industrial hemp and marijuana is in the concentration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-THC contained within the two plants, which produces psychoactive effects in humans.
With the new South Carolina industrial hemp regulations signed into law, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department took the opportunity to review their cannabis testing workflow and make improvements to accurately quantify THC levels in suspect plant material samples. The department’s Drug Identification Lab looked for a more reliable and less cumbersome cannabis sample preparation method compared to existing methods. They also wanted high quality and accuracy of results without placing additional strain on their criminal casework backlog. The lab ultimately incorporated a cannabis sample processing workflow that combines an automated liquid handling workstation with novel dispersive pipette extraction tips (DPX Technologies, Columbia, SC). The workflow is performed on a Microlab NIMBUS96 liquid handling workstation (Hamilton Company, Reno, NV) with a custom deck design and capacity to process 24 cannabis samples at a time.
DPX manufactures patented sample preparation products and specializes in custom workflows for a diverse client base including clinical, forensic, food safety, and pharmaceutical industries. Their products offer sample preparation solutions that are compatible with semi-automated and fully automated liquid handling systems for high sample throughput and high laboratory efficiency.
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About DPX Technologies
DPX is committed to providing innovative sample purification solutions. We collaborate with our customers to provide the high-quality products they need for complex chemical and biological analysis.