Cannabis Laboratory: Short-Term Challenges and Long-Term Growth for an Evolving Industry

The cannabis industry is evolving in ways that may strengthen the industry.

A more unified regulatory environment in the long run will help streamline operations and remove unexpected disruptions and financial shortcomings. Cultivators may benefit from guidelines and technologies to help achieve production consistency, while avoiding resource and crop loss. Testing labs will achieve higher level performance as a result of interlaboratory comparison, proficiency testing, and method standardization efforts across the industry.

2020 was shaping up to be a benchmark year for the maturing industry. Although no one could have predicted the current pandemic and ensuing economic challenges, the storm that currently clouds the industry may give way to brighter skies in the months to come.

The Short-Term Weather

  • The industry witnessed an initial spike of sales early in the pandemic, which was followed by rather steep sales declines. Speculations included a buying surge before lock-downs were in place.
  • Short term impacts are affecting sales, as recreational cannabis is considered non-essential and restricted. Medicinal is considered essential and sales may remain largely unaffected.
  • Experienced and well-managed businesses are preserving cash and keeping costs down, while surveying for future opportunities.
  • The cultivation, processing, and particularly the testing areas of the industry will remain careful with cash, cautiously watching possible supply chain disruptions.
  • Of these, the testing industry will likely remain the strongest, and depending how long the pandemic lasts, the testing area may not see any significant short-term effects.
  • Unfortunate developments including the cancellation of cannabis shows and legislative delays on cannabis actions in the US have dampened industry growth.

The loss of dear Charlotte Figi is a tragedy on a more personal level, for she was a true inspiration who changed the industry through her own challenges and perseverance.

Weathering the Storm

Perseverance is how the industry will weather the storm. Brighter skies are ahead. Here are some indications.

The current climate has necessitated innovative approaches towards maintaining sales.

Many other creative approaches have helped cannabis businesses remain viable in the short-term.

The Long-term Outlook

Where will the industry be headed in the coming months?

Canada will remain strong on account of several factors. Regulatory processes have been temporary stunted but will resume soon with similar robustness as before -- Ontario has awarded 900 licenses to date and growing. Analysts say the cannabis planting season will not be affected by the current pandemic. Health Canada has recruited testing labs for COVID-19 diagnostics, keeping the labs open and staffed. The Canadian government will likely continue to support cannabis across the board during the pandemic and ensuing recession due to the federal legalization status.

The US will see a somewhat of a divide between medicinal versus recreational cannabis. As mentioned, while many states have labelled medicinal cannabis as essential, recreational cannabis stores have remained closed during the lockdown. This has dramatically affected sales and demand for wholesale product in the near term, although longer-term outlooks are favorable for both. Regulatory decisions and ballot initiatives have halted due to COVID-19, stopping the momentum for increased legalization and access. Hemp will keep growing due to: unaffected legislative actions at the federal level, increased demand for hemp and hemp products (CBD), legal developments in financial services and infrastructure, federal financial incentives and protections. Largely unaffected growing seasons will further assist the hemp industry.

Despite short-term delays, longer-term initiatives around federal support for research funding and a strengthening interest in pharmaceutical development will help bolster growth for the industry. The industry will eventually reach a new normal as operations are streamlined, supply-chains are reorganized, and opportunities appear due to industry consolidation. In the wake of the pandemic and throughout the course of any oncoming recession, marijuana sales will likely track steadily upward on par with alcohol sales. Medical marijuana will remain essential and will see steady growth and expansion as legal access and licensing activities resume.

Despite the short-term challenges, there are positive signs on the horizon – definite reasons to celebrate 4/20 this year!

Here are a few new products to help share in the 420 celebration

Maximize yields and product integrity with a pump that has unparalleled process control

VACUUBRAND’s PC 3004 VARIO® select pump accelerates your extractions and maximizes profits with deep ultimate vacuum. Use this low-maintenance pump with rotovaps and vacuum ovens.

Learn More

Sizing up Particles – Particle size and shape matter!

Measure particle size distribution of CBD isolates from 10 nm into the millimeter range, accurately, and quickly - allowing greater control in QC & formulations development. Your botanical isolate’s best bud.

Learn More

Labels for Cannabis Laboratories -

GA International’s brand, LabTAG, provides cannabis labels and labeling solutions to address your needs, at every phase of the cannabis industry. For quality control testers, we offer tube, vial, and plate labels designed for identifying containers used throughout the testing process.

Learn More

Homogeneous Grinding of Cannabis – Efficient Extraction of the Supercritical CO2

The FRITSCH Cutting Mill PULVERISETTE 19 with variable rotational speed and Cyclone is an efficient instrument to receive both: optimal, homogeneous sample of large quantities of cannabis plants and for CO2 extraction to produce cannabis oils. Have a look how easy cannabis can be prepared.

Learn More

Improve your extraction process with oil-free, low-maintenance, reliable, & precise pumps

VACUUBRAND’s whisper-quiet MD 4C NT chemistry diaphragm pump has high flow and deep vacuum to complete your work faster. This pump is compatible with vacuum ovens and rotovaps.

Learn More