Quality Control in the Cannabis Industry

Quality Control in the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry continues to surpass other industries like no other. Each year, the industry grosses more revenue than the last. Moreover, new markets are expanding into the cannabis industry annually. Economic publications believe that the cannabis industry will easily surpass the earlier projected $200 billion milestone. Illinois’ new recreational cannabis market affirms this projection thanks to their record-breaking sales in the months of September and October of 2020. However, these numbers would not be as stimulating if it were not for the steps taken to ensure quality cannabis products.

What is quality control?

Oxford Languages defines quality control as “a system of maintaining standards in manufactured products by testing a sample of the output against the specification.” In layman’s terms, quality control is the system responsible for ensuring products developed for consumers to meet government and company standards prior to being listed for sale. These are the departments in place in companies that are tasked with making sure products are safe and consistent. For example, the quality control department for Coca-Cola would be responsible for ensuring all Coca-Cola beverages taste and are packaged as outlined by regulation and compliance. Quality control provides a sense of consistency and security for both the business and the prospective consumer.

Who’s responsible for quality control in cannabis?

In the cannabis industry, there are a few entities responsible for maintaining the quality of a product. Initially, quality control begins with the cultivator. Cannabis cultivators understand that quality control occurs from germination to harvest. During each grow cycle, cultivators ought to ensure the quality of their product with the proper nutrients, lighting, and consistency. Once harvested, the quality control continues. Buds are inspected by approved laboratories in cannabis markets. These labs test the product’s potency, cannabinoid profile, and even their ability to resist molds and bacteria. Moreover, cannabis is tested to ensure that little-to-no pesticides (in compliance with the relative market) are present in the final product. From seedling to shelf, the hands that touch the buds during this timeline are responsible for quality control in their own unique way. 

Signs of effective quality control

Consumers can spot when quality control has been effective in a multitude of ways. However, one of the simplest ways of evaluating quality control in the cannabis industry is ensuring consumers are getting what they pay for. Top-shelf and craft cannabis are shining examples of effective quality control. These types of cannabis are cultivated with quality control being the most important feat of the grow cycle. This yields desirable and potent buds that are worth every puff for the patient’s buck. Top-shelf and craft cannabis exhibit positive quality control thanks to the fine-tuning and tender love and care given throughout the entire grow cycle.

Signs of improper quality control

One sign of quality control done improperly can be found in the illicit cart market. This is the name given to the overwhelming amount of cannabis products that failed quality control that has someway made their way to back streets and the dark web. Most of these products failed inspection due to an undesirable amount of pesticides present in oils, distillates, and vaporizer carts. Unfortunately, there have been too many companies who have been caught red-handed distributing defective vape carts to illegal cannabis markets. This is because companies attempt to cut their losses by selling the bulk of pesticide-ridden or defective vape carts to those who simply do not care. Moreover, these illicit carts have been deemed directly responsible for the increased hospitalization of vape users in 2019. Products such as these do not only fail quality control; they can be detrimental to the consumer’s health if not comfortable.

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