Why Automation & Control are Critical Systems for Serious Cannabis Growers

While human skill and small-scale cannabis growing strategies were predominant before legalization, the future of commercial cannabis relies on automation and standardization.
Detroiter Karhlyle Fletcher is the host of High Lit, a cannabis research and classic literature podcast featuring leading voices and independent music. In addition to years in written and video cannabis journalism, he is also a traditional author.

As the industry approaches mainstream consumption, FDA regulation is coming, and the federal acceptance of cannabis will mean submitting to similar regulations as other industries do. 

Future-Proofing a Cannabis Farm by Arming Up for Control

While the founders of the modern cannabis cultivars practically lived at their farms, there's no need to be hyper-present for simple information. Increasingly complex sensors have developed alongside the industry to cater to the needs of cannabis farmers. Through intelligent design and automation, savvy cultivators access live data from their farms throughout the day. Without even being onsite, they can observe the pollen levels, check if mold is present, see what the temperature and humidity are, and more to ensure the smooth operation of their farm.

Further, with the proper software, it's possible to manage a farm off-site, controlling wind flow, temperature, and even feed through smartphone or computer applications. Nowadays, there isn't a need for as many hired hands on a farm as technology essentially allows farms to run themselves. In the future, this will be even more prevalent. Thus it will be difficult, if not impossible, for manual farms relying on traditional labor to keep up with large, automated campuses.

Automation is the best way to manage pests and pathogens. From drones that can report data to drones that release beneficial insects, the future of farming will look more like the rest of the agricultural industry. That is, cannabis will go the way of massive operations managed by small teams of people who are skilled operators of specific machinery. Focused operations will be the operations that meet the standards of procedure. While tabletop rosin presses will always remain cute, they cannot compete with automated chromatography.

Automation Allows for Standardization from Linens to Pills

In every industry, there are standards of procedure that companies must follow. For example, while asbestos was fundamental to construction for decades in America, it is no longer permitted. Regulations shift, but they ultimately are made to keep the consumer safe. Cannabis, or hemp, needs to be regulated because it's a wildly popular and potentially dangerous crop.

No, THC overdose isn't the worry, but molds are. Additionally, the gift of cannabis's ability to phytoremediation soil is also a risk. Cannabis becomes hazardous to consume through absorbing heavy metals, radiation, and other things which damage the earth. Other consumables, especially food, are affected the same way, becoming no longer safe for consumption when grown in lackluster soil.

While smoking may remain popular among younger generations, the older demographics and immunocompromised populations must have access to repeatable, sanitary, and predictable medical options. So, as the world sees cannabis become a staple crop once again, it will face the same rules and regulations as other products. Cannabis consumables must follow food safety regulations, as many leading brands already do. Additionally, there will be pressure for good manufacturing practices. As cannabis pharmaceuticals become more common, uniform dosage measurements will become necessary. Water-soluble cannabinoids are a possible solution for such an issue, but extracting isolates generally will likely be the future for the medicinal application of cannabis over the organic flower.

The industry requires automation and control to usher in the next era of cannabis consumption. From creating safe cannabis products on a large scale to creating hemp-based consumer goods, and cannabinoids as medicine, more sizable, automated operations will reign over the future of cannabis. As the shift occurs, cultivators must adapt to developing technology to keep up with the needs of the industry.

Professionalism Means Using Professional Methods

Now that the FDA has considered legalizing cannabis a few times, it seems inevitable that legalization and regulation are coming. Once they arrive, the farms that can prove complete compliance and scale to meet demands will thrive into the future. Those without the same level of control will likely be left behind. However, this shift will benefit the consumer by providing uniform pricing, safe to consume goods and the broader availability of the goods they desire.

Of course, this isn't to disparage organic consumers. The boutique market may always exist and keep its well-established place within the industry. Yet even the organic space could benefit by including superior automation and control. Either way, these technologies are here to stay and will be that which defines the cannabis people purchase in the coming days.

 

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