This article was originally published on Cannabis & Tech Today and appears here with permission.
The cannabis industry has grown exponentially over the past few years, by any measure.
It has experienced growth spurts, just like children do, and with them, the exuberance of puberty. Now, the industry has come to that point which we all inevitably reach when it comes time to choose to remain stuck in immaturity or to begin adulting.
We have seen the community change gradually. There are fewer and fewer “flakes” and more and more serious professionals.
The fact is that unless we accept that we need to get real and professional, and “grow up” in our approach to this amazing industry, the fun will seep away as fines are levied, licenses are revoked, and the public loses confidence in the safety of cannabis products, and businesses fail.
It is becoming clear that transparent, conscientious growing and handling processes, validated test methods, certified laboratory testing, precision quality control, and accurate labeling must become the norm rather than the exception.
User-friendly, reliable, fair, and speedy payment and delivery must combine with these things to establish unquestionable trust and confidence in the cannabis industry.
Any who do not embrace these standards will inevitably fail – and take part of the industry’s credibility with it. Anyone who has been paying attention can see this is already the case.
How do we avoid that and build quality and trust in the industry? The answer, just as in many other industries, is technology.
So what are the areas where technology can help establish integrity and trust and thereby establish long term success and sustainability for both your business and the industry at large?
The cannabis industry is growing, and the cannabis industry is about growing! The choices growers make affect availability, pricing, and quality all the way down the line, through distributors, retailers, and consumers.
If they get something wrong it has ripples. Equally, the things they get right also can improve the whole production and delivery process. Growers need to effectively control: quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness:
- Seeds – Quality starts with the seeds. To be successful requires the best quality and good storage.
- Cultivation – From there it’s about proper lighting and lighting duration, watering, fertilization, climate control, weeding, and pest and disease control. There are a lot of parameters to control in all of that, and getting the recipe right for each product, whether hemp, CBD or other cannabinoids, Indica or Sativa, and every strain and hybrid is a complex challenge.
- End Product – The wide variety of products ranges from hemp rope to topicals, ingestibles of every description, whether nutraceuticals, medicinal, therapeutic or recreational, and inhalables. Each has its own important acceptable parameters of safety, effectiveness, usability and shelf life.
- Tracking – Every state that allows THC products also has a track-and-trace program in place, except, for the moment, Florida. States are able to keep federal scrutiny at bay by showing that they have a firm grasp on the whereabouts of every last gram. Growers must comply with those tracking and reporting requirements. This is not currently the case in Georgia of course, but it would be as well to be ready when that time comes.
Growers use everything from low tech careful, diligent monitoring and manual note-taking of water usage, temperature, humidity, light and fertilization and their effect on the crops as they measure growth, potency, etc., to higher-tech solutions that can include:
- Media Moisture Sensors
- LED lighting
- Fertigation systems
- Smart Greenhouses, Buildings
- Smart Systems
- Data Tracking and Reporting Systems