WARREN – ABKO Labs has merged with Premium CBD Labs, based in Madison, WI, to create a Great Lakes cannabis and hemp testing group.

ABKO co-founder Amy Brown said she started having conversations with Premium CEO Jeff Hagen a few months ago. The merger is under review for regulatory compliance by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

“Basically, Jeff and his group were looking to start a lab in Michigan,” she said. “We shared a common attorney and he suggested we talk. Our business model had very similar vision and values.

“We decided we would be better partners than competitors – especially as more labs come on line,” Brown said. “Premium was able to cover some gaps at ABKO and we are able to ramp up their client outreach quicker than starting from scratch.”

Hagan said doing the deal was a no-brainer because “Amy did a fabulous job of getting started.” Hagan added that Chief Scientist and Lab Director Josh Smith will be managing both the Premium and ABKO labs.

“We’ll keep everything the same at ABKO,” Brown said. “ABKO will continue to operate in Michigan under that name.”

Smith said ABKO may expand soon into a vacant space next to the existing lab in Warren and the companies have agreed to merge the regulatory side and other pieces involved in the process.

As for Brown, she said she will remain with ABKO to handle sales and marketing. She said the two companies have similar values. With Premium as a partner, ABKO will be able to operate in a more efficient way, she said.

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