The Cannabis Opportunity
2018 was an inflection point for the legal cannabis industry. In fact, according to CB Insights, over US $2.2 billion was invested into this segment in 2018 alone, and the sector saw over 300 funding deals that were closed. Broadly speaking, this number means one thing: investors and entrepreneurs are extremely gung-ho about the potential of legal cannabis.
Where is Cannabis being used?
The use cases for legal cannabis is multi-pronged. The most promising, of course, is the potential value of medical marijuana in Medicine. Legalized medical marijuana is now available in 33 states and FDA has approved the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat certain types of epilepsy. There has also been research conducted in its value to treat chronic pain and cancer.
The other sectors that find use for legal cannabis include pharmaceuticals, beauty and wellness.
Like it is often the case with any innovation, allied industries are taking off as well. From packaging companies (that are offering packing solutions for cannabis) to banking (local credit unions and banks offering financial solutions for cannabis companies) are springing up.
In the food industry, we’re seeing what people are calling ‘edible cannabis’ - everything from burgers to chocolates with approved limits of legal marijuana.
Apparently, even cannabis tourism is now a sector! There are Airbnb hosts offering cannabis friendly accommodation and there are “wine and weed” tours that people are going to in certain states including California!
This list could go on... But, you get the picture. While it’s still early days for the sector - there seems to be a lot of potential and opportunity for innovation.
However, the key is responsible innovation. And, it boils down to quality and compliance. So, how can ComplianceQuest help?
Even as growers, processors, packagers and distributors of cannabis look to big opportunities, they have to know what quality assurance measures should be taken.
Despite the absence of a cannabis specific regulation at this time, producers are generally sticking to Good Production Practices (GPP), but most will need to go further voluntarily to ensure the production and sale of the safest and most consistent cannabis quality. Quality in cannabis manufacturing starts at the source, i.e. with growers and suppliers.
Companies need to ensure that raw materials and active ingredients meets the set standards. This requires internal and periodic supplier audits and documentation to verify the purity of ingredients.
Here’s a list of some important regulations that cannabis companies are following:
- Good Production Practices (GPP)
- Standard Canadian guideline for Licensed Producers (LPS)
- Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP): GMP for cannabis calls for more product testing or screening for THC and CBD levels. It also tests for pesticides, heavy metals and microbial contamination.
- Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP): European standard that applies to herbal medicinal products (like cannabis)
- Good Agricultural Practices (GAP): US standard that ensures that plants used for medicinal purposes are grown and harvested such that the crops can be traced back to the seeds or mother plants.
- The Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS) offer a comprehensive quality and safety standards for all facets of cannabis operations.
- The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) creates a general framework for the regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis in California.
Some critical challenges that regulations will address
- Proven methodology and standard operating procedures to avoid health risks associated with contaminated cannabis
- Unknown or unreliable potency of cannabis being used as raw materials
- Ensure there are no pesticides or harmful moulds or other forms of harmful microorganisms
- Treatments for any health complications caused by cannabis
But till the regulatory environment catches up, it is extremely critical to self-regulate. Successful and relevant cannabis ventures are going the extra mile to ensure quality, compliance, and even self-regulation.
How can ComplainceQuest’s Solutions help?
At CQ, we’ve built a wonderful EQMS solution built on Salesforce.com and have built deep expertise serving customers in many industries including life sciences, pharma and biotech, blood services, manufacturing, hi-tech and consumer packaged goods.
Over the last few months, we’ve also helped a few venture capital-backed cannabis firms upgrade their quality and compliance systems.
We’re applying several best practices from our experience of serving life sciences and pharmaceutical firms, as we begin to serve the emerging cannabis segment. Needless to say, we’re also constantly upgrading our domain expertise to serve this industry better.
We know we can play a crucial role in setting up and automating several of your quality-related processes.
Click here to know more.
And, do reach out to us for a demo and a few case studies of how we’ve helped companies in your space.