There are over 500 various bioactive compounds contained in cannabis that can be divided through a process of extraction. It takes place in an extraction lab, and the final outcome is the production of marijuana extracts with high concentrations of specific cannabinoids like CBD or THC with purity levels of about 99%. Marijuana can easily be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents, or other contaminants and therefore pose a threat to the safety and health of consumers. Testing in-house allows the manufacturers to make sure the marijuana products they send to the market are potent and also free from all sorts of possible contaminants.
The market for cannabis extraction globally in 2020 was valued at $9.7 billion. By 2027, the market size is expected to reach $23.7 billion, expanding at a CAGR of 16.6%, according to data from Grandview Research. Although starting up a marijuana extraction facility can be cost-intensive, the cost of running it is little, thus making it a profitable business in the long run. Here are some crucial factors to consider in running this business.
Across all countries, the cannabis industry is highly regulated. It’s illegal at the federal level in the United States, so there is a need for careful location selection to prevent encounters with the federal government. In the United States, you will need to check specific laws for the state you are in. The laws state how close an extraction facility can be to a school, children’s park, daycare facility, residential areas, etc. These laws may also define how close extraction facilities can be to each other and how many can be in an area. Ultimately, you want to make sure that the location you choose is secure, close to resources, and readily accessible.
COMPLYING TO REGULATIONS
A marijuana extraction facility needs to meet regulations that concern the manufacturing and production of consumable products to make sure the safety of end consumers as well as workers are guaranteed. Here are some important ones:
cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices): it is a regulatory standard imposed by the FDA. It defines the production, implementation, and observing of manufacturing procedures to attain the safety and quality threshold. The use of technology and some other systems by manufacturers is required to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the product. Marijuana extraction facilities should be certified by GMP for performing transnational businesses and for operational standardization.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): warns that the combustible materials used in extraction labs are easily ignited by flames. NFPA, non-profit, developed standards and guidelines to reduce the number of accidents involving fire that result in injuries, fatalities, and financial losses. To avoid accidental fires, the standard specifies how labs should be organized and how flammable liquids should be delivered.
Local fire codes are a set of regulations that must be followed in order to avoid fires in all commercial and industrial structures. They consist of having access to and properly using the following; Extension cords, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, fire signage, fire exit, fire assembly points, fire alarms, sprinkler heads, and pipes. Below are a few crucial fire codes that should be implemented in a cannabis extraction facility :
NFPA 30: The National Code for Flammable and Combustible Liquids
NFPA 58: The Liquid Petroleum Gas Code
NFPA 45: Fire Protection for Labs Using Chemicals
NFPA 1: The Fire Code Handbook
NFPA 70: The National Electrical Code.
OSHA (Occupational Standards for Health and Safety): Federal law requires marijuana extraction facilities to adhere to OSHA’s standards for workplace safety and health, in particular those pertaining to chemical and biological substances that lab workers may be exposed to while at work. For all chemicals, labs are required by OSHA standard 29CFR1910.1200 to have a written hazard safety standard, and this standard must always be available to all employees. All dangerous substances must be listed in a lab’s inventory, and any information related to them must be recorded on a Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
MANAGEMENT OF STAFF
Staff that works in the lab need to practice every hazard in the facility and be provided with first aid measures in the instance of an accident. The staff will be required to sign that they have gotten training on the same.
Plant clippings, residual extraction chemicals, discarded samples, and other detritus left behind at an extraction facility all constitute cannabis waste. Waste must be divided into categories that are either hazardous or not and disposed of properly. In order to prevent the trash from being combined, the lab must implement steps for adequate waste segregation.
SAFETY OF WORKERS
In an extraction facility, worker safety is of utmost significance and should be determined by the types of dangers to which each employee is exposed while doing their duties. Due to this, it is essential to conduct a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) to identify potential dangers that workers could face as well as establish preventative measures.
MANAGEMENT AND SELECTION OF EQUIPMENT
Depending on the kind of extraction and volume of the extraction, cannabis extraction equipment can range in price from $5,000 to $100,000. You must take into account the equipment’s output, cost-effectiveness, and final product when selecting it. A laboratory for extraction should only make use of Underwriters Laboratories-listed equipment (UL-Listed). In order to make sure that optimum effectiveness and production, prevent accidents, and reduce wear and tear, the equipment must also undergo routine maintenance. This can only be accomplished with National Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) certification.
MANAGEMENT OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Management of your supply chain refers to the disciplined oversight of the entire process to guarantee efficacy, reduce waste, and increase production and profitability. This entails monitoring raw materials from the moment they are delivered to the extraction facility until cannabis extracts are made available. In order to assist supply chain management in an extraction plant, a laboratory information management system (LIMS) is useful.
Cannabis extraction is one of the many sub-industry in the fast-growing cannabis industry. If you want to go into extraction, the few points explained above should help you navigate a lot at the start and give you a good foundation.