8 Stages of Cannabis Cultivation: Laboratory Testing

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Dank 8 Stages of Cannabis Cultivation

Licensed in the regulated cannabis cultivation industry in 2009, DANK has often been asked “what is the most significant challenge in the industry?” Many times, our answer is laboratory testing. It is not only the test themselves, be they difficult, but the fact that the laboratory testing requirements have changed year in and year out. Many of the things we see today in the regulated market took years to develop as the industry has continued to mold into the program we have today. For example, in the early years of legalization, there was no requirement for potency testing, or child safe packaging, or contaminant testing. With an effort to be “self-regulating” the leaders of the cannabis industry worked with the regulators to develop appropriate protocols such edibles dosing standards. Through the years, DANK has thrived by cultivating clean and potent cannabis from farm to bowl while being transparent with our procedures. We’ve even hosted the Marijuana Enforcement Division for on-site training with RFID technology by Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance (METRC). We’ve been testing for potency since inception, before it was required. We consistently consider the safety of our customers and are dedicated to compliance. We adhere to strict protocols during the propagationvegetativeflowering stages that deliver top shelf flower to our medical and recreational patients. We developed a pest management plan that uses minimal additives from products approved by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (DOA) for application on cannabis. The laboratory testing that occurs after completion of harvest and cure is a right of passage in the industry because testing is one major difference between the “private” and public marijuana market. It shows that we are compliant and put our patients first.

Stoner trivia: How many pounds of dried cannabis flower can a cultivation facility transfer at one time?

The laboratory testing rules are very detailed when considering independent cannabis testing. For analyzing flower, the rules describe how to select the sample, the quantity of samples, and the testing requirements needed (the contamination levels and the potency levels). We follow strict protocols that define the sampling methods that benefit the patient by selecting a homogenized sample, one that represents the entire plant. Because it has to come from a cured flower, laboratory tests are taken from the cure-tub, not from the growing plant, as some may think. One bud from the top, one from the middle and one from the bottom of each harvest tub ensures a good cross section of each strain. Although our harvest batch is cured and smokable, it sits in limbo, awaiting the results of lab testing. Since the delivery is securely tracked with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the package is traced through the regulated system appropriately. Upon completion, the test results from RM3 Laboratory are immediately uploaded to METRC Inventory Tracking System, viewable by the MED should they require it. The lab provides a pass/fail on contaminants and a final cannabinoid profile. The profile must list the quantity of five cannabinoids, including: THC, THCa, CBD, CBN, CBG.  This is something you don’t get in the “private market.”

Stoner Trivia (answer): 10 pounds of flower can be packaged into one transfer package.

Once testing results have been received, we package our flower into easy to handle 1-pound packages and prepare it for transfer to the dispensary packaging department by affixing package and shipping container labels. Meeting the letter of the law, the labels must also include the cultivators license number, the cultivator’s name, the non-organic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides and the state issued warning statements. Once the packages are compliant, each item is listed on the METRC Transfer Manifest. This initiates the transfer to another licensed facility by releasing the chain-of-custody from the cultivator to the delivery agent who follows strict protocols on safe transport.

Next time, we’ll discuss the acceptance of the product in the packaging department and read how the package is broken down into individual retail units. Thanks for reading. Until next time, happy growing.