A United States congressman, congresswoman and presidential candidate walk into the Cannabis Business Summit in Denver. It sounds like a joke, but that’s what happened at the NCIA Summit at the end of June, 2015. Branding themselves as The Voice of the Cannabis Industry, NCIA is lobbying in D.C. to advance the interests of the legitimate and responsible cannabis industry. With this many politicians in attendance, I see NCIA as an association worth supporting. That’s why The Pot Scientist was there as a new NCIA Member.
I cannot possibly cover all the important people, panels, and presentations from the 3-day conference so here’s my take on the most important panel in my scientifically biased opinion.
The Importance of Standard Operating Procedures was music to my ears. On the panel we had the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards, the American Oil Chemists’ Society and iComply, a compliance consultant group out of Denver. The panel had some excellent points like:
- Your Business in a Binder (SOPs) is how you train your employees and consistently deliver brand promises to your customers.
- SOPs protect your business from litigation by documenting your compliance, and
- SOPs are a living document that should be actively used and endlessly improved.
All true, but the big takeaway I got was that there ought to be a standard, there ought to be a standard. I say it again, THERE OUGHT TO BE A STANDARD. And, we should be cooperating, as an industry, to develop the standards we need. Big questions still need answers. Questions like: What is the maximum safe moisture content of “cured” marijuana? By what method and how many samples should be selected for batch release testing? How should those samples be prepared for potency or contaminant testing? What environmental conditions are best for long-term storage? How do we decide what’s “best”? And what about the testing methodologies themselves?
If we can agree on the answers to these questions as an industry, then we can develop a standard. Standards are essential for doing business because it is only through standardization that buyers and sellers can agree on what the hell is being bought and sold. Imagine selling a boatload of iron ore and your buyer wants to know how much actual iron is in your shipment. It’s impractical to test every rock on the boat so how many do you test? How do you select samples? By what method do you run your tests? How confident should you be about iron content before selling? That’s why they have standards, and that’s why we need to develop our own standards for the cannabis industry.
Standards are good for industry because they facilitate trade. Through standardization we can all start speaking the same language of scientific consensus so nobody gets ripped off. The Pot Scientist here is pro standardization because I’m pro industry. If you’re with me, use #ImNotaCriminal and join the movement to normalize cannabis just like any other industry.