I knew this was big news when I read it on CBSnews.com instead of the marijuana-specific news websites I frequent. A Colorado state Senate panel voted 7-0 to give the Colorado Department of Agriculture $300,000 to step up enforcement of pesticide use in the Marijuana Industry. This is on top of the Denver Health quarantines you might have heard about.
The losses from these quarantines could be in the millions. One facility alone had to quarantine 60,000 plants. Why? In the words of the Denver Department of Environmental Health, “there are some practices out there that could pose a public health risk” and they’re right to intervene in those cases. It’s their job.
Which brings me to my point. Why Quality? Because establishing a Quality Management System and hiring scientists to fill out your quality department will give you an ethical, scientific defence to charges leveled by regulators. It’s because the job of your Quality System is so similar to the jobs of regulators. Except it only applies to your company and its purpose is to help the business in the long term.
To illustrate my point, I’m going play the part of a Cannabis Quality Engineer just told to quarantine his plants.
“We here at [Fill in Blank] Marijuana Company are committed to customer satisfaction and safety. It’s in our Quality Policy Statement. That is why we have performed a full process validation of our product for its intended use. Our results show that when the pesticide in question is used according to our SOP, it presents no danger to our employees applying it or to our customers consuming it. Here is the report for your review. Yes, we know it’s not made for indoor use which is why the supplier sent us a recommendation determining the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for application, you’ll find it in attachment 2. Yes, it’s not food grade but the intended use of our product is vaporization ONLY (not exceeding 420°F). You’ll find our Instructions for Use in Attachment 1 and–”
Woah there, I’ll hold my horses. Can you tell this is what I do? But it takes years to craft a Quality System that can produce reports like that. So now is the time to start because there’s lots of work to be done. The burden of proof is on the company to show that their product is safe. Furthermore, they should be confident that the next batch will be just as safe as the previous one. If a regulator says your final product is not safe then the entire system that produced it is culpable. And if you can’t prove that it is safe, then you could lose everything. Protect your business by implementing a Quality Management System. Do it now!
The best part is you don’t have to take my word for it. If you’re a marijuana business owner and you want to do it yourself, just google “Quality Management System” and hire your own scientists to implement and maintain it. The whole industry needs to and I can only assist one company at a time.