Bringing Cleanliness to the Forefront of CannabisAmerican Cannabis host, Ellis Smith, was joined by guest, Steven McMorrow, President and Founder of Cannabis Clean, to discuss how facilities in the cannabis industry can prevent contamination and protect their product, patients, and team.
When new cannabis cultivation facilities begin operation, the goal is to get plants growing as quickly as possible, but careful planning and forethought must come first. Most understand the need for careful floor plan design, proper lighting investments, and the need for environmental controls. However, before hanging the first light or planting the first seed, it’s vital to consider proper health, safety, and sanitizing procedures.
During an interview with American Cannabist, Ellis Smith, Steven McMorrow, CEO of Cannabis Clean discussed the importance of taking cleanliness and employee safety seriously from day one. “Take the right steps to clean your facility, because when you fail, you won’t have a choice and it will cost you twice as much,” McMorrow warns.
Cannabis Clean, based out of Denver, Colorado, started offering their services to the cannabis industry in 2015. Living in North Carolina prior to moving to Denver, McMorrow had years of experience developing sanitation and odor removal services for apartment complexes, used cars, and other industries. As an epileptic himself, he recognized an opportunity to use his skills and expertise to provide a valuable service to the cannabis industry which would help ensure a quality product for consumers.
Starting with a cleaning and antimicrobial application for walls and surfaces, Cannabis Clean ventured into the cannabis market to prevent molds and mildew, as well as cut back on cross-contamination from room to room. Canna-businesses started requesting more and Cannabis Clean became a full-service resource for cleaning and sanitizing the grow. As the business grew, McMorrow recognized a need for standard operating procedures and employee training for the best SOP’s in cannabis.
“We have SOP’s for the entire grow operation, including safety programs,” McMorrow explained. “We help grows layout the blueprint – making sure the business has the right SOP’s to be clean and stay clean.”
Hazards in the Industry
While the various hazards in the industry can be very broad, Cannabis Clean focuses on cleaning, safety, and health. While many facilities are making a conscious effort to go above and beyond to create a clean environment, others may be struggling financially or just getting started with limited funds and sanitization and cleanliness are an afterthought.
McMorrow reminds, “Microbials are dangerous for consumers and your employees. Safety and sanitation are very important.” These contaminants in the grow can be passed on to patients, and with a compromised immune system, molds and mildew can be highly dangerous.
Besides biological hazards, the misuse of chemicals in the industry is a significant concern. Many times employees have not had the proper training required for the chemicals they use. Employees may not understand the dangers associated with chemicals like bleach and H2O2, a super-strength hydrogen peroxide which is highly toxic and extremely dangerous to use.
Cannabis Clean’s initiative is to partner with the operation and be a resource to guide the industry to a higher standard of cleanliness. However, like telling a cook their kitchen is dirty, humans get offended. “We need to be proactive and prevent these things for your business and the cannabis industry in general,” McMorrow explained. “We are role models in this industry. We need to be overly compliant and implement the same safety measures which are compliant with every other industry.” He goes on to point out restaurants, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, food packing facilities and even alcohol have stringent guidelines and standards in their processing facilities.
Rules & Regulations are Coming
McMorrow also emphasizes how important safety procedures will be in the coming years. While OSHA may not be involved in the cannabis industry to date, it’s coming… with violations ranging from $12,000 up to $150,000 each. “We need to get ready. We have a window and it’s now or never,” he said.
To help the cannabis industry get ahead of the curve, Cannabis Clean has strategically partnered with Cultivated Solutions Consulting to offer a 6-hour training and certification course designed to help managers with hazard identification and assessment, as well as, how to prevent them or deal with them when they do happen. Specifically, how to take proactive steps, across the board, for safety and health at your facility.
In addition, Cannabis Clean also offers other training classes such as a healthy, safety, and sanitation course. This 3-hour class is general overview teaching proper cleaning techniques, most effective tools for the job, identifying and using different chemicals. “Basically, we teach good practices,” McMorrow stated. He also reminded anyone using pesticides in the state of Colorado must be certified, and Cannabis Clean offers the annual certification for pesticide handling certification as well.
On the Horizon
Cannabis Clean is introducing a new era in chemical cleaning with a machine which takes the guesswork out of safe, efficient cleaning. By separating the ions of salt molecules, the machine creates sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous, a non-toxic cleanser and sanitizer. Both these products leave no residue, kill bacteria and ultimately revert to saline water – making them simple, effective, and safe.
Finally, McMorrow reminds growers and owners to be proactive to limit and mitigate future problems. “Going backward costs ten times more,” he warns. Hire professionals to help you find the pain points and see the things you might not see. Get the right training for your staff, and implement a safety program.
To learn more about what Cannabis Clean can do to help your cannabis business succeed go to https://www.cannabisclean.com/.