Prominent CA Testing Lab Raided, Two Execs Arrested

A marijuana testing lab was raided in Pasadena on Monday, and two executives with the company were arrested for suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Dr. Jeffrey Raber, president and co-founder of The Werc Shop testing lab, and Mark Piesener, another executive, were both arrested after cops responded to an anonymous tip regarding a “strong odor of marijuana” coming from the business, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Police also detained 26 other employees and seized 500 pounds of marijuana and 200 mason jars of hash oil, according to news reports.

Police told reporters that Raber and others contended they were legally making “botanical medicine” at the site, but officers festooned the building with a yellow warning sign that read, “Warning: a clandestine laboratory of illegal drugs and or hazardous chemicals was seized at this location,” according to one report.

Both Raber and Piesener posted a $75,000 bond after being booked at the Pasadena jail, and they have a court date in June.

Calls to The Werc Shop were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

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24 comments on “Prominent CA Testing Lab Raided, Two Execs Arrested
  1. Greg Kiser on

    Never fails to amaze me how someone arrested for a pot charge has a bail amount 15 times higher than some arrested for aggravated assault.

  2. Lonnie Painter on

    Our collective, Laguna Woods Medical Cannabis is made up of several hundred senior citizens. We have used the Wercshop since 2010 and depend on them to make sure our cannabis is safe and free from bacteria, mold, pesticides and other harmful chemicals.Without their help our members, who suffer from cancer, MS, chronic pain etc, would have no idea what they were ingesting.
    Lonnie Painter
    Laguna Woods Medical Cannabis
    Village Cannabis

  3. Stephen Cotta on

    Please denote the operation this lab was conducting was not testing. This lab may do testing, but that was a production operation. Labs need to remain outside of the production elements to maintain industry trust and safety. Stephen Cotta

  4. Rydermgt on

    What a gross miscarriage of justice! The Werc Shop provides so much value and education to an industry that lacks what this professional company adds! Shame on the Police and shame on the rat responsible!

  5. Lonnie painter on

    The Wercshop performs many services besides testing including the legal extraction and formulation of botanical medicines including cannabis. Far better to have a qualified lab produce botanical medicines than a fool in his garage. Who would you rather produce your medicine?

  6. Terri Morgan on

    It’s so sicking…they choose to harass the easy marks..while they’re too busy messing up peoples lives in the cannabis industry… why aren’t they going after sex offenders,serial killers, murderers, cartels act…?????

  7. Stephen Cotta on

    I could not agree more about subjecting the legal extraction and formulation of natural botanical elements to a professional scientifically controlled environment. What nature about their operation was identified by federal authorities to break promised policy? Everyone must take this question direct to their elected representatives.

  8. Lonnie Painter on

    It appears that it was city police. Concentrates are legal for medical cannabis patients, it is legal for dispensaries to sell them but it is illegal to make them with butane. The Wercshop does not use butane it uses CO2. There is no law that says it is legal or illegal to use CO2. Law enforcement uses a law made for meth manufacturing to go after CO2 extraction. However a court ruling has said there are legal ways to extract among them is pressure which is part of the CO2 process. This may be a very important case which may decide the legality of CO2 extraction

  9. Jeff on

    As unfortunate as this is, I think it may end up being a landmark case. Most extractors probably need to take deals and don’t have the money for a long legal battle, or used butane which is clearly a hazard and would be very hard to justify in court. I would think the werc shop owners are pretty well off, and hopefully they have enough money to fight this until the end. CO2 will be a much easier case to win, than butane, and might set precedence for how concentrate manufacturing is handled in Ca. Again very unfortunate but hopefully something positive comes from this.

  10. Lonnie Painter on

    Local LA online news said,” it was a major drug operation. said it was “ A front for a hash oil drug factory”. Lonnie Painter president of Village Cannabis Club & director of Laguna Woods Medical Cannabis said, Who ever these poor excuses of news reporters are, you are fools, who gave you those headlines? You were used and are too stupid to understand.

  11. Lonnie Painter on

    Is someone mad at Jeff Raber & The Wercshop for doing cannabis research?
    “The Conversion and Transfer of Cannabinoids from Cannabis to Smoke Stream in Cigarettes”. Published in Natural Products Chemistry & Research. The mad scientists at the Wercshop also did a study on pesticides & cannabis. Is their big sin they didn’t get in line to wait for federal approval. What, it only takes five years to get the first of several denials. The government can’t let scientists study marijuana they might find out it’s safe and effective. What then? Next thing you know law enforcement will lose its cash cow, prisons might empty out and the very powerful California Prison Guards union will start loosing paying members and the drug rehab industry will have empty beds. You see science is dangerous. Just ask any republican.

  12. Gabriel on

    Not the only “testing” lab around that dabbles in other areas of the business. They all learn fairly quickly there isn’t much money in “testing” and that the real money as always is in manufacturing and trafficking.

  13. bobby on

    The Wercshop provided great testing services, no question about it. But to find out they were also into this hush-hush production is a huge conflict of interest… guess who provides the certificates of analysis and potency % on the oil they sell?? … them!

    Really thought Dr. Raber was in it for ensuring safe medicine, but the cold reality is he’s in it for the $$$$. I believe he mis-represented himself.

  14. John on

    This man deserves a bank account with unlimited funding, if the people here leaving comments actually knew the service he’s providing to the WORLD you’d feel like the biggest jerks on the planet. What do you all do for a living? Every billionaire on the planet is messing up by not backing this brilliant team.

  15. Tina on

    I have known and worked with Jeff Raber and the Werc Shop for many years and wanted to clear up some of the prior posts. There is no denying his ability and knowledge but there is much most don’t know. First, as he charges people for testing services in the lab, he collects the sample profiles to develop the flavors he is now offering in the processing business. There is no question that you are paying him in lab fees to help further his processing business interests. Furthermore, his testing numbers and results are often used to certify products that come out of his processing operation. At a minimum, there is a major conflict of interest that he is capitalizing on. If you are a processor using him for testing, then you are giving very important information to your competition. Second, if you plan to use him to help formulate a new product. I would get as much written protection as possible. He shares a little too much on what he is working on with other clients. I can only imagine that my ideas have either been shared or taken by Jeff and the Werc Shop. This is the main reason that I have started moving elsewhere. Third, he tries to position himself and the lab as helping ‘patients’ but if you know his work he is very focused on the recreational users. Check out the products he processes and the flavor profiles. I don’t see anything CBD related for patients with epilepsy or cancer. Furthermore, he talks about the importance of whole plant but his profiles are artificially concocted to mimic whole plant characteristics (taste and smell). Finally, if he is focused on helping truly needy medical patients then why are his processing fees so high? When he first offered processing, I tried his services. No question they were better than others or the results of doing it myself. However, they would take so long and miss delivery dates that I couldn’t operate under these conditions. I know this business is fraught with flakes but I expect someone with a PhD to meet deadlines. I guess like most companies he is more focused on getting business and not properly servicing it. That’s how you end up with 500lbs material and 200 jars of oil. Jeff should have never taken on investors. All investors want is a return on their money which can result in bad decisions. I hope this acts as a warning to the community and a wakeup call to Jeff and the Werc Shop.

  16. Mel on

    These guys where clearly trying to conceal the processing operation from the everyone. I bet they recommended their processed products to patients. They probably brand them under a different names but validated that they were tested. Guys like this will mess it up for all the patients that need to get their medication.

  17. Kenny on

    Thanks everyone for posting. I was considering using the Werc Shop and came across this article. As a patient, I have a compromised immune system and wanted to test my material to make sure it was safe. The original news article made no sense so I was kind of agreeing with Lonnie; however, upon further digging, I’m leaning with Stephen, Bobby, Tina and Mel. The Werc Shop doesn’t list processing as a service; furthermore, processed cannabis is for folks chasing big highs, not really for medicinal uses. Another thing I found that hasn’t been mentioned is The Werc Shop is trying to patent something related to THC/CBD and terpenes. It sounds like a Franken processed cannabis. Patents are for protection or to create a monopoly. The fact that they are not revealing their processing services, conducting it in a second location and filing a patent makes me think that the Werc Shop is focused solely on the money. I’m going elsewhere. This is too shady. Thanks again everyone.

  18. james vann on

    Kenny and other ..brothers n sisters..back up but a moment,consider our sources, the press being spoon fed by the police. I did a lil research, the search warrant was sealed, which is so close to a constitutional violation its not funny. Anyone doing any research with cannabis, advanced research, would be using a very small percentage of the plants complete profile. I know. I was attempting to just fraction cannabis into 4 or five parts. You throw away what you dont use. Obviously an individual got pressured by the feds/local cops working together to produce a significant bust and he did. Otherwise the warrant wouldnt be sealed. The pictures of the 500# looked like shake to me. In my experiments to isolate appetite inhibitors that would have lasted a week. Get real. Get behind an individual who we need more in the movement than needs us. At the end of the day….WTF who’s side are we on? The next PhD to consider helping you get safe meds may think again. And that Frankin prodoct, I never knew Dr Raber, but considered all the medicinal ethical applications of terpenes derived from other natural sources and low and behold…he did it first. He really is a genius and Im a competetor. Give him his due. Stand with truth. Time is the father of truth. We’ll see.

  19. Don S. on

    No question that we need more real scientist sorting out the truth from the myths. The issue is the conflict of interest of operating a testing lab and processing product. I think people feel let down or deceived. It shows there is no money in testing so you take your knowledge into processing. I guess $$$ talks and pays the bills. There got to be an acceptable middle ground.

  20. Lonnie Painter on

    Wow! All the attacks on Jeff Raber shouldn’t be a surprise. Success generates jealousy and people love pilling on. Who are these people and what are their motives? Don’t get the reason why someone would think it was a conflict of interest for the Wercshop to test the products they formulated. It would be irresponsible & unprofessional for them not to test. It is the responsibility of the person having the work done to have a third party do additional testing. There is NO conflict of interest here only someone who does not understand business. Are these complainers a bunch of communists to complain that the Wercshop makes, “Money,” “Profit”. Of course they make money it’s called business not church. ( opps, churches make money too ) Without scientists like Jeff Raber we would be ignorant and victims of government lies. We would still be stuck in Killer Weeds Land.

  21. Rydermgt on

    Very good posts, people! Thank you

    However, to this company’s credit, he has, in the past, disclosed the cannabinoid footprints for a number of strains that clearly identify a number of important cannabinoids in addition to THC including those strains with no CBD but a high percentage of CBG, CBC, THCV.

  22. Mel on

    Lonnie, when I see a tested by The Werc Shop on a product it suggests a trust. If they are testing their own processed products, it’s a little too close for that trust to exist. If their is no conflict, then why isn’t the The Werc Shop more transparent and list processing under it’s services? Better yet, why don’t they list the products they manufacture?

  23. Michael on

    Sure, sure, the police have NOTHING better to do than harass innocent business men.

    Yeah, let’s just forget any possibility that they could be performing illegal activity, maybe even dealing drugs on the side. Yeah the police hate senior citizens, people suffering chronic pain, they hate children, puppies, and women too. WHATEVER!!!

  24. Kelly on

    It is becoming much more common for labs to also provide extraction services with highly potent drug concentrations, there is some overlap in the development and testing of highly concentrated cannabis. It’s not a conflict of interest and since they are also a lab they have a duty to test their own work. Customers still need 3rd party independent testing to verify the results and I am pretty sure Dr. Raber as a scientist would support that idea.

    It might be old news now but I was still very disappointed to hear that Dr. Raber and his partner were raided and arrested in 2015. I have never met either of them but have studied labs in the cannabis industry and the Werc Shop was one of the best analytical labs for providing accurate, honest results and advancing the science of cannabis testing — perhaps even to their own detriment, as not all producer’s product passes a lab test.

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