Book:Past, Present, and Future of Cannabis Laboratory Testing and Regulation in the United States/Future of cannabis regulation, testing, and market trends/Production
5.3 Productiongrowing cannabis as an environmentally modified organism (EMO). A June 2016 article published in Motherboard referenced the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF) in Canada and its effort to apply innovations in growing plants in closed environments (such as on spaceships) to cannabis production. Specifically, the researchers see promise in being able to precisely control grow conditions to produce a plant with a particular ratio of active chemicals. As such, the previously mentioned synergistic relationship of cannabis' chemicals can be more carefully studied, and the end product, once studied and methodically tested, could potentially "achieve the status of a conventional pharmaceutical commodity that a doctor can rely on and prescribe." CESRF isn't alone in developing grow technology that can tailor the necessary conditions for a particular strain. Several Israeli-linked start-ups (see the last section "Non-U.S. policy" for more) like Corsica Innovations (LEAF), Flux Farm (Eddy), and Eroll Grow Tech (Seedo) have been developing similar grow technology that may transform future research. And Front Range Biosciences has been developing its Clean Stock program, which "uses tissue culture to help clean up, store, mass-produce and certify plants, ensuring they are disease-free and true to type."
With better research, more definitive fact-based decisions can be made in the regulatory sphere, better guiding medical and recreational marijuana policy. That said, keep an eye on developments in controllable production methods; advances in this area stand to improve many of the other facets of research and testing discussed.
As production facilities (as well as testing laboratories) become more prominent throughout the U.S., another concern is beginning to emerge in the cannabis market: workplace safety. An August 2018 report by Chemistry World brought up several chemical accidents at cultivation facilities in Arizona that have raised eyebrows in chemical safety groups. A commercial greenhouse cleaner at one cannabis facility ended with 16 employees being treated, and another involving "improperly stored hazardous materials" caused significant property damage. Safety groups and researchers remain concerned that as the cannabis industry rapidly expands, safety concerns may not get taken seriously by operators. As for workers themselves, a Colorado State University study says they may be taking safety more seriously, but nearly 50 percent of them complain of not receiving adequate training on "biological, chemical and physical hazards" inherent to their work. In addition to training, grow-ops, laboratories, and governments need to be more proactive in establishing guidelines and protocols in safety, including the specific equipment to use with various handling activities. Safety and manufacturing companies like 3M have increasingly become aware of this need, recommending procedures and personal protective equipment for cannabis handling tasks. And Colorado's Department of Public Health & Environment have created their own guidance called Guide to Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana Industry. However, whether or not handling of cannabis requires special occupational safety rules has been debated before by various states, with California in 2017 stating existing rules cover the industry adequately. It remains to be seen if states will eventually create their own occupational rules as the industry expands further.
- Owens, B. (21 June 2016). "How Space Technology Will Produce the Best Weed Ever". Motherboard. Motherboard-IPTV LLC. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/how-space-technology-will-produce-the-best-weed-marijuana-cannabis-pot. Retrieved 07 March 2017.
- Gustafson, K. (07 December 2016). "Startup Launches Automated System It Claims Makes It Easy To Grow Marijuana At Home". Forbes. Forbes.com LLC. https://www.forbes.com/sites/katherinegustafson/2016/12/07/it-just-became-incredibly-easy-to-grow-marijuana-at-home-meet-leaf/print/. Retrieved 08 March 2017.
- Solomon, S. (09 November 2016). "Israeli startup creates idiot’s guide to home-grown food". The Times of Israel. http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-startup-creates-idiots-guide-to-home-grown-food/. Retrieved 08 March 2017.
- Press, V.S. (13 February 2017). "5 reasons Israel is dominating the cannabis industry". ISREAL21c. https://www.israel21c.org/5-reasons-israel-is-dominating-the-cannabis-industry/. Retrieved 08 March 2017.
- Wenkert, A.; Hirschauge, O. (13 February 2018). "Leaf, Long-Awaited Home Cannabis Farming Box, to Start Shipping". CTech. Yedioth Ahronoth Group. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3731790,00.html. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
- Schiller, M. (04 June 2018). "Front Range Biosciences Offers Clean Stock Program for Cannabis to Reduce Loss and Increase Efficiency". Cannabis Business Times. GIE Media, Inc. https://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/front-range-biosciences-offers-clean-stock-program-cannabis/. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
- Trager, R. (22 August 2018). "Accidents at cannabis cultivation facilities worry industry chemists". Chemistry World. Royal Society of Chemistry. https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/accidents-at-cannabis-cultivation-facilities-worry-industry-chemists/3009412.article. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
- Davidson, M.; Reed, S.; Oosthuzien, J. et al. (2018). "Occupational health and safety in cannabis production: an Australian perspective". International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 24 (3–4): 75–85. doi:10.1080/10773525.2018.1517234. PMC PMC6237171. PMID 30281413. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=PMC6237171.
- Victory, K.R.; Couch, J.; Lowe, B. et al. (2018). "Notes from the Field: Occupational Hazards Associated with Harvesting and Processing Cannabis — Washington, 2015–2016". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 67: 259–60. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6708a7.
- Valentic, S. (27 March 2018). "Study: Cannabis Workers Value Safety but Lack Formal Training". EHS Today. https://www.ehstoday.com/safety/study-cannabis-workers-value-safety-lack-formal-training. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
- "Growing Worker Safety Concerns in the Medical Marijuana Industry". Worker Health and Safety. 3M. 17 April 2018. https://workersafety.3m.com/growing-worker-safety-concerns-medical-marijuana-industry/. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
- "Technical Data Bulletin #249 - Legal Cannabis Growing Operations" (PDF). 3M Personal Safety Division. September 2016. http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1283636O/tdb-249-legal-cannabis-growing-operations-pdf.pdf. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
- Bottino, B. (24 November 2019). "Cannabis work safety". Safety+Health. https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/19117-cannabis-worker-safety. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
- Bland, K.D. (06 July 2017). "Cal/OSHA Declines to Create Marijuana-Specific Safety Regulations". State and Local Updates. Society for Human Resource Management. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/cal-osha-declines-to-create-marijuana-specific-safety-regulations.aspx. Retrieved 29 November 2018.