I had the great honor of speaking with Mr. George Robinson of RavenQuest BioMed Inc., a one of the first-wave Licensed Producers in Canada’s foray into a post-prohibition environment for cannabis. As CEO, George has eschewed the standard fare of acquisitions and press cycles touting would-be ideas and has focused on 4 pillars to diversify the company’s interests, insure responsible stewardship, and support a framework of innovation: Services Division (from consulting to design), Investment, Indigenous Peoples Relationships, and Scientific Leadership.
Although there is a treasure trove of innovation here to choose from, I am focusing this entry on a discussion I had with George about RavenQuest’s proprietary orbital growth system. The system, pictured here, is a system of modular, automated growth pods that rotate the plants around a central light source. This confers a number of benefits. The modular design is open-ended in its scalability. The density of the vegetation with 360 degree light exposure is around 300 grams per square foot, water and nutrient costs are reduced and energy costs drop up to 80% from a standard indoor garden. The high level of automation allows for multiple gardens to be managed remotely and greatly reduce site visits (and the potential for infection they bring).
Concurrently, they are working with McGill University to drive research into chemovar identification/stabilization. These two strategies walk hand-in-hand for a potent future differentiator. Cannabis continues to emerge as a global product as legislative barriers fall seemingly daily. As emerging markets remove legal barriers, the plants will have an opportunity to thrive in their native environments. I cannot envision a technology that will allow cannabis plants to be produced less expensively in an environmentally-controlled warehouse than in their native soil and conditions, not even factoring the variance in labor costs. I view this as a Damocles Sword hovering over the massive capital inflows into the cannabis industry, particularly for the Canadian LPs. The Orbital Garden, when combined with the chemovar ID technology, will allow for the CONSISTENT production of specific cultivars anywhere in the world. The modularity makes it quick and low-cost to set up and Mother Nature will never be able to produce the product with the consistency that this technology provides. In that vein, it is a game-changing tech.
Expect to see me write more material on these Cannabinnovators.
Transparency: no commercial interests
The Vaping Menace – The Arrival of Pestilence in the Media
A lot of hysteria has dominated the news cycle around the current dangers of vaping, leading the casual observer to conclude even coming within range of a vaping device would cause certain death!
In reality, as of this writing, it seems 2 deaths and a couple hundred illnesses have been attributed to an as-yet-undetermined set of cardiopulmonary maladies that followed using vaporized cannabis and tobacco products. A lot more information is still needed as to what caused these illnesses with the early theories pointing to Vitamin E acetate used to “cut” or chaptalize the oil for use in a vape cartridge. It also seems to be limited to illicit-market cartridges in terms of cannabis.
As a result of prohibition ending so broadly in North America, we know a lot more about how to properly create cannabis extracts. At this point, it is completely possible to make a clear, full-spectrum extract suitable for cartridge use without the need for additives. For those who prefer vaping via a cartridge system, sticking with well-known manufacturers for hardware and knowing proper temperature thresholds of your devices will help insure a safe experience.
The issue does make a strong argument for universal repeal of cannabis prohibition so that these products can be regulated. As long as outdated cannabis prohibition laws exist, the illicit market will come up with shortcuts to meet demand. These issues are being caused by “moonshine mary jane.” Although this “epidemic” is certainly far from that, any vape victims could have been easily protected with common-sense legislation allowing safe access to a natural plant and derivatives thereof.
Here in Olympia with The Cannabis Alliance of Washington to discuss industry matters with our legislators. Hot topics for this legislative session include treating cannabis as agriculture, broadened records expungement on the tails of the Governor’s announcement (Cannabinnovation was there, too!), and expanded access for strictly-medical consumers. Cannabinnovation also wants to know what they think of the state’s current record keeping system!
The House analog of the McConnell-sponsored inclusion of industrial hemp production allowance in the 2019 Farm Bill is official and also moves forward with the legalization of industrial hemp production. This represents a tremendous economic opportunity for the U.S. and is a further indicator that broader deregulation is likely on the horizon. Six months ago, I was saying we were 3-5 years away from the reclassification of cannabis from Schedule 1. I am growing more and more convinced that this could happen within the next legislative session…so maybe 3-5 months is a closer guess.