Cary Black 0:00
Getting on the same page with people and developing a coalition of people that think can speak the same language, and then take that to the local government, which then can expand to the state government. So, again, it comes back to the whole reason why we’re Americans, we have the right to work together to create the laws that dictate how we function. And right now’s a great time to really fire into that experiment relative to cannabis.
You’re listening to To be blunt, be podcast for cannabis marketers. Where your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here’s your host Shayda Torabi.
Shayda Torabi 0:58
Hey friends, welcome back to another episode of To Be Blunt. I’m your host Shayda Torabi and today’s guest isn’t your typical marketing chat, but it has a lot of overlap with marketing, which is why I think it’s an important subject to put on your radar. As you know, cannabis is not federally legal and as a new industry lacks standards that other industries like the automotive industry have already established. So it was through a STM that I got connected to Carrie black, because I recently joined as a volunteer and Carrie is one of the chair members of the D 37. Cannabis committee. Now asdm is an organization that helps many different industries manage and establish standards, which Carrie will get into more about in the show, but the D 37. Cannabis committee was only recently founded in 2017. But their goal is to help develop standards for cannabis, its products and processes. So if you’re working in the industry, and trying to Create, market and sell a product, chances are it’s going to cross one of the standards Carrie and his group ID 37 are trying to set. The good news is anyone who has interests can join and today’s conversation dives into this discussion. So I hope you’ll listen to the end and get inspired to get involved should you so choose. Welcome to the show carry.
Cary Black 2:21
My name is Cary Black. I’m currently a consultant for the cannabis industry but also for the food safety industry. And basically trying to be a successful consultant in a post COVID environment which has its own challenges. One of my primary objectives is to see what role I can play in the standardization of the cannabis industry. So and kind of focus, maybe what I’m talking about relative to that. I’m a very active member in STM, which is probably one of the more you know one of the most premier standard bodies in the world. Frankly, and with the D 37. Main committee on cannabis having been formed starting in 2017, we’ve had a tremendous opportunity to literally start writing standards for the industry. And the industry is obviously as most business owners know, in dire need of standardization, you can, for example, and analytical tests, you can take a sample to one lab for the same test for the same desired outcome and get multiple different answers that are completely disparate from each other because of a lack of standardization now, if you think of the implications of that, you’re selling products to what hopefully will be, you know, widespread human consumption. Now, if what you claim the product chemistry is relative to their safety in that if the data that you’re presenting associated with that is not actually Frankly, there is inserted a risk, you know, to the consumer and to your business relative to the safety of your product. And to that end, we’re putting tremendous amounts of effort into standardizing test methods that not only are accurate and validatable, but also are affordable. You know, there’s a lot of upstart businesses in the cannabis industry. And it may be farmer jack down the road with two acres of hemp and maybe stars in their eyes to rock along and they may have a perfectly viable product, paying $500 for a round of tests for each lot. Well, you know that that can be prohibitive. So, recognizing that we’re trying to kind of, and actually they’re kind of oxymorons of each other trying to make the best test results possible in the best test methods while trying to keep him affordable to everyone in the end. Because many of the players are, you know, new people coming in, and frankly, they don’t have the capital behind them to rock and roll that they would otherwise have they had that capital. But again, it comes down to that standardization. So it is TM, we’re really trying to wrap our arms around, look at all the gaps in the industry that would be functionally benefited by having a standardized approach. And currently, currently, I’m working as the chairman for D 3706, which is the Subcommittee on certification, accreditation and training. And we’ve been putting forth standards. basically looking at every job somebody could have in the cannabis industry, whether it’s a horticulturalist or a grower a trimmer or a dryer, or a budtender or a quality manager or a cannabis lab manager, you know, the list goes on as you can And, and then trying to define what would be the knowledge that you would want somebody to have if you were hiring someone for one of those and thereby start to standardize maybe job descriptions across all levels and we’re, we’re negotiating with as Tim, hopefully put in a certification program or an individual could take a series of trainings, take a test and get a piece of paper that says they’re a certified dispensary technician or a certified cannabis quality technician or certified cannabis lab chemist or you know, you can imagine the list goes on and on and it’s people like you guys and and also the people that hemp tours Lee and dad I know I’ve talked to them about this. You guys actually contributing in the standard writing process to help us elucidate these body of knowledge isn’t really at the end of the day. It’s it’s kool aid in collaboration. Subject matter experts out there from all different backgrounds now, but everybody in the beauty of HTM is it’s a volunteer organization. So, for me any subject matter expert that reaches out, that has some ideas about that. I’m all ears. In fact, I’ve got templates and say, here’s a standard way and just go ahead and write it. I’ll sponsor it and we’ll get it through and, and maybe by increment of standardized industry now, that’s just within like a certification training thing. And I can see incredible value for that, particularly in a fledgling industry where, you know, you go to GM and you want to be a quality engineer, the first thing in their job requirements is eight years of experience, blah, blah, blah, right? Well, there’s no eight years of experience in cannabis. Right. Right. And so we want everyone to have a shot at it. And so we’re really trying to introduce principles that make it accessible for everybody. And you know, I believes strongly in educational credentials. Like if I hire a chemist, I’d like to think they have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. We’re juggling that a little bit because a lot of sort of the state of art approaches in cultures like Asia and India and, and other elements like that. They’re not so reliant on educational credentials as experiential credentials. And you might find chemists working in a Thailand based extractor plant that does not have a degree in chemistry. However, they’ve had an apprenticeship where they can do the chemistry, they understand that they have the body of knowledge. And so then the question comes, why preclude them from that opportunity or by putting rigid educational credentials in there? Well, I’m from a Western culture and I’m thinking, well, I don’t want a chemist that doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. But I’m trying to lessen my answer. pericentric culturalism recognizing that as tm is a global standards body and these standards will be applicable.
Shayda Torabi 9:08
I did want to dive into what you were talking about with asdm in terms of it’s an established business that has a history and standardization which I’ll let you dive into specifically what asdm is, but the application I think, with the cannabis lens is, this is a newer function that is only really been established in the past couple years. And it’s a volunteer effort. So everybody who’s participating, like you’re saying, you’re leading these, you know, committees or these subcommittees, you mentioned Leah and Dan from him tours shout out to Leah and Dan, we have Leah. We had Leah on one of my very first episodes of this podcast, which was a really great episode. So hopefully people can go back and listen to that episode. She’s based here in Austin with me, but that’s kind of how I got connected to you was through Leah because personally, I wanted to Learn more about how I could help have a role in setting some standards for this industry. So to kind of create that pulse for people listening, I’m a business owner in the space. I’m very education forward. I also acknowledge that the industry is very immature. And so realizing that no standards are really set, it is the wild wild west and I think to close the gap on something you kind of were touching on between Western culture versus Eastern culture, and kind of maybe their approach to this. You know, I remember in the early days of cannabis culture, there had been a few educational entities schools, maybe that popped up I know, Oaksterdam is a popular one. It’s, you know, not maybe accredited. You’re not getting a real degree in this but it at least gave some parameters and structure for educating and making someone more knowledgeable about this plan that I think you have, you know, maybe in 2019 2020 I started observing and I know Leah also and I have done this Same program with the University of Northern Las Vegas has cannabis professional courses. So you’re starting to see it’s not an accredited course yet, either. However, you’re seeing it be brought into more mainstream or more common in the traditional education category. And so it’s kind of interesting where I think you and ASTM is standardizing it from an industry perspective, but also acknowledging it’s not just the educational component because there really is nobody in an educational environment, saying hey, this is how you study cannabis chemistry. Hey, this is how you study cannabis extraction or you know, cannabis marketing. Like there’s not a specific course out of university, to my knowledge presently, that gives somebody that degree quote, unquote,experience. There is one Northern Michigan University offers a bachelor’s degree in the cannabis sciences. Oh, wow. Okay, so specifically on the science side, though, right? You know what,
Shayda Torabi 12:01
I stated that I can’t speak specifically on all the subject matter that it covers, but it is an accredited you can get the degree in it. It’s Is it a Master’s or bachelor’s and
Unknown Speaker 12:11
I don’t know all the specifics to it, but I do know that they are at a minimum, I know that you can get a Bachelor’s.
Shayda Torabi 12:19
So cool. There’s, you know, one university that’s kind of championing it sounds like that educational component, but I guess to come back to asdm, and to let you kind of dive into what its its true function and definition is, obviously there’s a standardization gap right now in cannabis. And so I think people are looking to all these different pockets, whether it’s traditional education, whether it’s certificates and programming. A STM seems to be another piece to that puzzle and helping produce some sort of baseline for how we all communicate about, you know, the professional side of the industry.
Unknown Speaker 12:57
Well, I can I can comment on that.
Cary Black 13:00
And I’ll share some more information about ASTM that that’s the particular vehicle that I’m involved with, relative to that. But as a business owner, and as a producer of product that ultimately will find its way to human consumption. There are regulations, if you will. And the FDA has entire regulatory guidelines around protecting consumers relative to products that they consume. And there are different guidelines and these these can also be considered standards, if you will. What a scam is trying to do is create the sort of internal documents that support the specifics of those guidelines. So we’re kind of working as well with the FDA to try to regulate the industry. And I know that a lot of people think oh, regulate the industry gets bad, we can’t be regulated. Well, we do need to be regulated because consumer Health and Safety is the Paramount mission of, for example, the FDA. The EU GMP guidelines would be the sort of FDA equivalent for the European Union and governs a lot of international commerce. And all the guidelines look pretty similar. For example, right now, I’ve been doing some work, what’s called 21 CFR 117. And that’s the series of guidelines that basically dictate food safety. And what you may have heard of is visma, which is the Food Safety Modernization Act. And, frankly, depending on what product you’re selling for human can sumption, you are required to be compliant with those guidelines. And that’s not a trivial level of compliance. That means putting in very rigorous supportive quality management systems with standard operating procedures and change control from documentation and essentially putting a quality management system in to realize those guidelines and building preventative control measures for areas where there could be risk to consumer, or what some people refer to as asset, which is hazard analysis Critical Control Points, you know, and for example, in the chicken industry, okay with chicken meat that has a high propensity for forming salmonella. And so you may have to have a preventative control that requires a heat treatment that destroys the salmonella, so that then you can proceed down line and make your canned chicken salad or what have you. But documentation that you’ve gone through that preventative step as a requirement, and then having the presence of quality management system to keep track of all that data. Now that’s right now we’re kind of in a gray area relative to cannabis. Technically, CBD by itself is still illegal and it’s illegal to transport it across state lines for commerce, okay, but you can Buy CBD products all day long online, which is frankly in direct violation of the current status of that. And so the way to change that is what people are lobbying working on is changing the schedule assignment from the DEA schedule rosters. And then at some point it can become even considered a food product. And right now it’s acknowledged that it’s kind of in a gray area. So the companies that take hits on that likely is not or companies that didn’t play the politics of their region quite correctly. And because somebody often higher government state level and get up get a slash back at that I’ve seen that in a couple occasions.So creates your a wild west is a great way to describe it. But a lot of these standardization of the industry, ultimately should bring the ability of the industry to easily or at least much easier, easily come into alignment with those guidelines. And as the industry expands, those guidelines will be applied and there will be an expectation of compliance. That’s where a lot of people don’t. They don’t understand really how the entire human consumptive industry works in the United States. And hopefully, through our standardization and our communications with people, we can really kind of create these programs that will allow people to step into those regulatory arenas, with confidence and with understanding and hopefully with standards that not only support those guidelines and compliance to those guidelines, but are sure consumer health and safety at the end of that road. And that comes to the analytical methods really, you know, cannabis has an incredible propensity to suck up heavy metals from the soil that it’s growing and in fact, in some cases, it’s actually used as an environmental review. radiating material to reduce lead or what have you in a field or soils or an EPA cleanup or what have you? Well, it’s important that we have analytical methodology to define how much heavy metals is in our particular product. Because I know that several companies just in the last couple of weeks, were shut down by the FDA for high lead in their product. They didn’t know. And in fact, one of them had CEOs from a third party lab saying they were perfectly good to go, guess what, the C Corp is worth a darn. And then it comes back to what what standard did that lab use? And were they ISO 17025 certified? Did they really know what the heck they were doing? Were their instruments calibrated? All those questions come into play? And those questions, submit them play you know, in the food industry for years you think about 2008 were two affiliated company. Had peanuts that I believe were contaminated with salmonella and a lot of people die literally died. And that really kicked up the regulatory notches in food safety and was likely one of the catalysts for spring on the FISMA approach that, you know, basically that Africa started in 2011. The way the world is changing anyway, it comes again back to and I’m going to always come back to this standardization and understanding the standard standardization, why we are standardizing and, and really, a lot of people will say, Well, I don’t want government regulations, right. I mean, a lot of people are sort of politically not in that fold. I used to be one when my hair was a lot longer and I had, you know, back in my hippie days, but right now, it’s a matter of frankly, protecting human lives and manage the quality control lab at the domino sugar refinery for five years in New Orleans, and you know, we we refined 8 million pounds of sugar a day on a 24 seven basis. And my name went on the certificates of analysis are all that sugar. And it was for good reason we basically validated that, yes, this is safe for human consumption, and nobody is going to get sick and nobody’s going to die. And, you know, we had very, very well standardized test methods. And basically, it wasn’t officially a 17025 accredited laboratory, but we follow those guidelines. So if we had, if we wanted to pay the $30,000 to get that certification, we could have we chose not to we just chose to ran that lab in such a way that we could go to a court of law and defend our analytical results if we needed which we never did, which and that’s fine as well. But that that whole aspect of standardization. Again, I’m coming back to that. All business owners and all people that even are marketing these products need to have an awareness of that. You got to be careful in how you claim things. You know, a lot of people will call CBD dietary supplements. And if you literally do marketing along that line, you are in violation of the law, because there are no regulatory guidelines for CBD to be classified as a dietary dietary supplement. And the FDA will will definitely have be knocking on your door if you’re marketing under those kinds of premises. So even as a marketer, a brand marketer, it’s important that you understand what the legal status is. And frankly, that status is changing. I mean, I just got an update. Last week, the FDA put out their proposed guidelines for running clinical trials for cannabis products now. That’s huge. And that’s beautiful because These things come incrementally, right? So now they’re saying, well, let’s take a critical look at actually putting guidelines and doing clinical trials, which, you know, basically opens the door for bigger sources of r&d cannabis. Right now there. You can you can certify to us r&d cannabis. But you have to get it from the University of Mississippi. And that they’re the only ones that unless that’s changed, they have been the only ones that can provide cannabis for research purposes where it’s all legal and everything.
Shayda Torabi 22:37
I didn’t even know that that’s very fascinating. They’re the only
Cary Black 22:41
they have been Yes. And unfortunately, and I’ve dealt with a lot of people that have a lot of that are working in trying to set up clinical trials for all these wonderful medical applications that have been proposed and somewhat flirted with and actually seem amenable to initiate trials. Where trials have been initiated using that particular University’s product. Apparently, there is a lot of complaints as to the quality of that. And that being a single source, where like, if you’re going to do a clinical trial for some medicinal application, frankly, your raw materials that are playing in that trial need to be premier and there should be no issue with quality. So guidelines like this, and it’s actually up for comment right now. I can send you a copy of it and encourage you and people that you know of who have a vested interest. The FDA is taking comments on that. And typically they’ll be a meeting and there’ll be an assessment and people will round up. I know that STM there’s there’s a group of a group of folks that are literally working on a response a credit response to that, and the FDA listens, they listen to the people in the industry, you know, so that all the best can come from it right. And, and there’s no particular conflict of interest in no particular monopoly, they want to do it right as well. But they’re going to make sure that those clinical trials give good data. And then how the raw materials are handled are within the scope of the law. It shouldn’t be long after that, that maybe some it’s hard to say with an upcoming presidential election and how the, you know, the DEA may be motivated by legislation to change the scheduling, it’s really hard to say. But when some of that kind of dies down and gets resolved, I would expect to see a similar guidance come out for use of CBD as dietary supplements and as a food substance, and then basically those guidelines would be up for a comment relative to cannabis as applied to those different is beauty is now is the time to really make a lot of noise and, and really start setting up sort of the subtle infrastructure to really tweak the industry and to get it ready to go down that path. Whether you like that path where the adult like that path as long as that’s right, our government functions to it functions that is the path that human consumables will be affected by. So position yourself as best as you can. And the more standardized approaches are, the better will dovetail into that carpentry process, if you will. So anyway, that’s that’s my I’m gonna quit preaching. I
Shayda Torabi 25:43
don’t know why I love that and I want to kind of come around to another a part of the topic that you were addressing around, you know, the industry is moving towards regulation, whether we like it or not, and speaking from my own personal experience, you know, purchasing can As products outside of illegal market, there was no what’s in my product. What am I getting? I was just buying weed. I didn’t I just wanted, you know, the output of being high or stone which I do personally enjoy that effect. But there was no education. There was no understanding I, you know, even as it went from this kind of black market to opening up the recreational markets in states like Colorado. I remember going to dispensary’s and never being presented a certificate of analysis never really asking or inquiring for these things. But I think as you see cannabis become more widespread, especially with the CBD and hemp market, I think really opening up this, this wormhole of Whoa, you know, we’re not just selling pot to people anymore. This is a really serious industry and it needs this attention. And so I think that’s where consumers as well as these business owners who are coming into the space, just start really kind of not aware like myself included. I’ve never like I said ask for a certificate of analysis as a marijuana consumer, but as a CBD consumer that is becoming the norm to expect that. And then to even step back further from that. My understanding which it sounds like is accurate is because there’s no standardization when it comes to testing, even testing within a state. There are still discrepancies on how the machines are calibrated. What are they testing for? What is the material at what stages the material needs to be in. And so I think that is producing these inconsistent experiences, which to your point, and punctuation. It’s really to benefit the consumer from a health perspective. We want to make sure that the products that they are purchasing deliver on what not only they’re supposed to do, but from a health perspective, make sure that it’s actually healthy for you to be consuming and putting in your body and just on the point alone of how you know it’s a beautiful thing that hemp is so absorbent But I think the counter to that is unfortunately it can absorb some negative chemicals and pesticides and heavy metals. And then that’s an extra precaution for the brand who’s extracting or if the brand is purchasing from somebody who else is extracting. They need to be aware and know those things are pieces that they need to address or be conscious of. And so it’s just I think, everything you’re saying I’m personally benefiting from. So I know that the audience is going to get some great tips on what to be thinking of because like you said, it’s just it’s changing very fast. And then from a city to city state to state level. It’s further fractured.
Cary Black 28:43
Yeah, it is. It’s it’s pretty crazy. I was kind of laughing about that. Of course. With the farm bill of 2018. hemp became legal, if you will. Well, what’s happened right? It’s cannabis cityville What’s marijuana? It’s cat To cityville You know, there’s some other sub species if you will, and but at the end of the day, you have a plant that’s half legal and half not legal. And it all depends on the amount of THC that is present in that plant. And if it’s less than point three 8% and it’s legal. If it’s not an it’s not, but the cannabinoids are still illegal. So here you have a plant. That’s like fractionally legal depending on where you’re at, again, the Wild West again, lack of standardization
Shayda Torabi 29:31
points back to just the very reality of like, like we just I feel like we’re just scratching the surface.
Cary Black 29:38
Oh, absolutely. And really trying to rein in order from chaos.
Shayda Torabi 29:49
quick break to say thank you to restart CBD for sponsoring this podcast. Restart. CBD is a brand my sisters and I founded in our hometown in Austin, Texas. We operate a retail location as well as an e commerce store and you can browse our wide range of CBD products at restart CBD calm. Again, thank you to restart for allowing me the time and resources to put on to be blunt. I hope you’ll check them out for your CBD needs. Let’s go back to the episode.
Cary Black 30:20
I don’t know, it’s I guess it’s a battle that’s not for the faint of heart. And so we just we try to leverage, you know, every opportunity we get, again to have people understand and help out with the standardization process. And that’s not a state to state starting out and even just a local level. I know I have the privilege to sit on the marijuana review board for the state of Colorado. And of course, they’ve had the legal programs and they’ve got, you know, some pretty good regulatory type approaches, and they’re standardizing their approach as best they can and working very closely. With a STM, so that’s kind of cool. I’d like if I could do anything. And maybe it’s people like you that could help me with that. I’d like to maybe try to convince every state legislature that is dealing in some way with cannabis, regardless of what level to basically solicit how valuable it would be to form marijuana or cannabis Review Boards within the constraints of their current status, build with subject matter expertise, and understand this kind of a global perspective. I’d love to start seeing what we can do about maybe getting in front of the Texas State Legislature. I’m sure Leah and Dan have thought along those lines, and I’m sure you as well. And we may talk about maybe seeing what we can do about showing the successes of that board in Colorado, to stakeholders at the legislative level in other states to see if we can maybe increase expansion there because really, that’s where we’re We’re gonna start having an effect in terms of legislative actions and opening these doors and allowing that standardization to start to, you know, blossom, if you will.
Shayda Torabi 32:12
Well, I think people are a little afraid of just to add, I think people are afraid of this consistency. It’s a little bit people want their, you know, their proprietary idea. But at the same time, if we’re all in our own silos, not standardizing not communicating, not agreeing on some base level. This is what is right. This is what is wrong, that I don’t think you’re really going to see the industry flourish. I think that you’re seeing that kind of happen with each state having I mean, there’s surely California and Colorado are learning from each other, but they’re both very different setups. And because it lacks standardization, it’s almost sometimes like are we talking about the same thing and, and maybe there’s going to always be some difference, I think differences good, but I do agree in some sort of standardization where No speaking from a Texas perspective, I mean, just to keep highlighting what Leah and Daniel are doing, I think Lee has been a great resource for us because it’s somebody who I know is caring about the same thing that I care about, which is to educate consumers and give them confidence with this really incredible plants. Like I want people to know of its greatness. And I also want people to realize, you know, just the state that it’s in. And so I think when you’re trying to educate consumers will also educating yourself, it’s hard to know, who can I relate to who, who also is getting educated in the same way with the same information that I’m getting educated. And so again, Leah has been really helpful for us from a business perspective, just to be a resource of someone who at least between her and I, and our kind of small community here in Central Texas, it’s, we’re speaking the same language, you know, and then I think that pours into which I do want to get into, you know, ascm involvement. I mean, I I’m not as involved as you But I want to continue to lean into being as involved as possible. I do think it’s important if you are a brand in the space, if you have skin in the game, it’s not just okay I’m here to make a cannabis product and cash out. It does I think require you to honor the industry and honor the growth of this plant by stepping forward into whether it’s creating the standardization setting up a board being a part of a board, submitting comments and volunteering into organizations like ASEAN to help with standardization. Like I just think there’s so many options where members of Texas normal, like get involved to help Have a seat at the table. So you’re all communicating on the same thing, versus where I think the industry before was like, Oh, well, those people are doing something over there and I don’t want to tell them how I’m doing it. I’m just gonna let them keep marketing or not getting their products tested a certain way it was all like, this is my secret and my, you know, privacy and now. I really think that’s honestly like part of why I personally I wanted to launch this podcast was let’s get on the same page. Let’s talk about it.
Cary Black 35:05
I agree. And and really to that point, at the end of the day, there will be regulations put in place that dictate how you run your business. And just ask yourself the question, do I want to play a role in what I’ll be doing? Or do I just want to be told what I’m doing? And if there’s an opportunity to literally play a role, which is happening, and which is happening more and more, then I don’t get out there and play a role. And it’s kind of like my dad used to like if I was complaining about the president, and my dad said, Did you vote? I said, Well, no. He said, Well, I don’t want to hear I have nothing to complain about it. Right, same idea. We all have the power to actually influence and especially now in this burgeoning industry. It starts at the local level and extends to the state level and then to the federal level. To the global level, believe it or not, and really trying to get it all on the same page is, you know, it’s basically defining careers. Hopefully. But um, anyway, so no your points really well taken. You don’t have to divulge confidential or intellectually proprietary information, to be able to participate in a process relative to one, teacher regulations might become, you know, having expertise and understanding where maybe weaknesses are, that could be addressed. You don’t have to, you know, exactly divulge confidential kind of stuff, as you said, getting on the same page with people and developing a coalition of people that think can speak the same language, and then take that to the local government, which then can expand to the state government. So again, it comes back to the whole reason why we’re going to man We have the right to work together to create the laws that dictate how we function. And right now is a great time to really fire into that experiment relative to cannabis. And I’m kind of excited about it from that perspective. It makes me feel patriotic.
Shayda Torabi 37:18
I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s a beautiful opportunity that we have to bring more awareness and education to this plant and to help have a hand in changing You know, its legal status and hopefully through this process not only provide standards but really get full research done so that we can hopefully remove it from the schedule one list and give it proper access. And it’s just a really exciting time like you said to be in cannabis. And again, I emphasize this I feel like every episode but hopefully people really take it to heart it’s it’s what you said, you know, you can be the recipient of the regulations or you can help be someone who’s driving And so you kind of touched on and I want to dive into this last point before we wrap up. But, you know, when there’s open public comments whether it’s participating in asdm, which I will ask you to share with everybody how they could get involved because it is open to anybody in the cannabis and beyond industry who wants to contribute. But you mentioned, you know, these open comment periods by the FDA. I know that Texas just issued the smokeable ban. And there had been multiple public comments for the Department of safety and health services to hear from not only business owners or people in the industry, but consumers as well. And I think that’s something that I personally tried to champion is get involved, like you said, on a local level on a state level on a national level and beyond that there’s different organizations and ways for you to contribute and to make your voice and your opinion heard and it is really exciting. I think personally, when I was first getting into cannabis, I was a little bit more reserved, because you know, just what I believe stacked Up to what everybody else believes. But as I kind of kept pushing through the industry, I realized, we’re all learning together. And that’s why my voice is equally as important as somebody else’s voice. Because together, it’s those opinions that are coming in forming what is, you know, that new standard and so it’s I know I’ve I’ve been a member of ASEAN for a very brief amount of time, but even just observing the practice and the communication, and the cadence for how these conversations are happening. It’s very collaborative. And I know that it’s a small role I get to play and helping establish some of that standardization. So actually, it’s as big of a role as you want. Thank you. Yeah,
Cary Black 39:42
no, it’s it’s it’s a lot of work. And it’s a lot of work to write a standard and it’s a lot of work to get it through the process. But the networking that goes on as you’re working with the best of the best in the industry that share that passion, and it’s volunteer, so the more you want to do is Tim sits back and says How can We help you. And so to that point, as big a role as anyone wants they can find within that arena. And I can talk about that real quickly. A little bit. Please, please. STM was founded in 1898. And basically what happened is, in the course of the 19th century, we were building railroads all across the country. And somebody realized, well guess what that gauge is this and that gauge is this. And we found we had literally dozens of different rail gauges, which would preclude the use of the whole system right at the same time. So it was founded in order to standardize railroad gauges, allow for, you know, the same width between the rails so that the trains that were manufactured, were manufactured with the same width wheels and so forth, right? That was sort of the beginning of that was very successful. It basically initiated the industrial revolution. through, you know, viable transportation standardization, then expanded through the Industrial Revolution, basically creating different standards. Originally, the organization was called American Society for testing materials. That’s what STM stands for. That name however, more recently was basically thrown in the trash and they kept the initials STM, the change to asdm International and basically holding on to the acronym but not defining a specific meaningful because no longer was an American. It was international right. So that’s why you see a is TM international and sometimes have a hard time finding what is the M stands for? That was in 2001, that that change occurred. And since then, you know as tm has expanded its role in the global industries. We literally To work directly with United Nations, and we were acknowledged by the UN is the premier international standard body. Currently, as tm has over 140 technical committees and these, each Technical Committee governs some aspect of industry. Right. And that’s d 37. happens to be the technical committee with cannabis. And there’s 139 other technical committees, spanning every industry that you could ever think of, and with people and subject matter experts writing standards pertinent to those different technical committees. And so, you know, there’s essentially lots of people involved on lots of governments involved, the UN’s involved so that that kind of helps with the, you know, the advancement of the thing I was just looking at some different stuff here. So given the scope of that, if I can take you to formation of D 37, which is the cannabis main committee, was founded in 2017. And currently, currently there are multiple subcommittees within that main category. One is indoor and outdoor horticulture and agriculture that’s looking at cultivation standards. Oh two is quality management systems. These are standards that support the GMP and the FISMA. And those regulatory entities that I was referring to earlier. There’s the 3703, which is laboratory and these are the people that are publishing the test methods. How do you determine potency? How do you determine test the science it determined metals and stuff and coming up with those standardized approaches? There’s processing and handling which looks at packaging and labeling and those things standardizing those approaches, security and transportation, Personal Training, assessment and credentialing. That’s the way that’s my subcommittee That I alluded to earlier. There’s a specific committee on industrial hemp looking at specific hemp issues, particularly since the advent of the farm bill and it not only looks at consumable ham, but at industrial hemp fibers and cream, etc, etc. There’s a new one, cannabis devices and appliances, it looks at standardization and delivery devices here, your vapes, what kind of protective standards are out there. And then the executive terminology, but those basically present the subset of subcommittees that make up d 37. And I’m sure everyone listening out there heard one that kind of speaks their name relative to how they might want to or can contribute. If anyone ever, you know, has a desire to explore that further, feel free to contact me and I can steer you in the right direction. So we have these subcommittees now we identify Well, what standards do we need to write and we decide okay we need to write a standard on doing a potency analysis with headspace GC or we need to do a pesticide analysis with
Cary Black 45:15
liquid chromatography, tandem mass spec, whatever, you know, I mean and then subject matter experts get assigned to that and they go forth and they do the standard test methods they have to go through a validation process to make sure that they work they have to go through a precision bias assessment to make sure that you know the the precision and the accuracy of the method makes it viable, you know, as a reporting entity for the industry. And then whatever standard So, say Shayda wants to write a standard on credentialing or what are the job vocations for a dispensary technician. Okay, so Shayda would take out a work item or guide number number number number one, you can form a task group to that point and invite other subject matter expertise to come in and sit down and work through the aspects of the standard that you want to communicate. And then you write standard. So now you have a document that reflects the standard that you wrote that’s referenced against that preliminary work item number, that then goes to ballot. And when it goes to ballot, that means it goes out to the whole community to read it, and to say, Well, I like this part, I don’t like this part, take this part out, and etc, etc. And, and what the voters can do is they can basically write a negative against it, they can write an affirmative or they can abstain. And you can apply comments on all those. If you write a negative you absolutely have to supplant comment because you have to say why you’re voting negative on it. Any standard that has a negative vote will never be published, until that negative is resolved. And they can be resolved in several ways. There can be discussions that can be agreements that whatever that negative purports to, will be incorporated in the subsequent ballot. At any rate, it goes through this iterative process until everybody in the community agrees that the standard works and is viable. And 47 years later,
Cary Black 47:25
I was being facetious.
Cary Black 47:28
It can, it can take a while, but it can go through three four, evolutions and iterations, resolving the negatives and making sure that what product you have at the end of that is consensus based across the entire p 37. Membership. And there you have close to 1000 people in that membership, and they’re all subject matter experts. So if you got 1000 subject matter experts saying what the standard is works, it’s good. You can kind of bet you got a really good standard that has been basically blessed by the community. And so that is a very quick summary of that entire process. And it’s a beautiful process. And I was just telling someone earlier today, it’s beautiful because it really brings out the consensus nature. And it’s not so beautiful because there’s tremendous amounts of negotiation and, and sometimes time that goes in between balancing events and really negotiating with people to get them on the same page. And so that’s kind of the whole perspective about STM. The beauty of that is because of all that is probably one of the primary reasons that it’s considered maybe the premier standard, the entity that exists on a global level. And so to be able to play a part in and play a role, you know, starting from your sphere of influence and being able to literally contribute to that really goes in alignment with Everything that we’ve been talking about relative to seeing where are places in the industry, and seeking out like minds on a local and community level, your task group level, to drawing an analogy, and then building bigger consensus, the subcommittee level, state legislation level. Okay, and then expanding that up to the main committee level state legislation. I’m just I mean, I’m using those sort of in an analogous set of hierarchies to basically try to explain that process. If that made any sense, then never use that particular set of analogies before but it sounded good.
Shayda Torabi 49:43
It made total sense. And I think to kind of sum it up to just creating that perspective in that image that you shared of when a STM really was first established and having the emphasis on you know, standardizing railroad tracks and Thinking of that industry and how much it’s been around and how far we’ve come from those early days, and just seeing the Industrial Revolution happen and now being able to apply the same kind of approach to what we both know is a very high profit industry that is very, very immature and has a lot on the line still in terms of sorting out the consumer market, as well as the efficacy of the products and everything that kind of falls in between and so I just I hope people get excited from this episode. I know that it you’re very knowledgeable and so is a little bit more technical, but I think you did a good job articulating the the main purpose, obviously of standardization, and then here’s all this kind of like stuff around it that goes into it. And obviously it isn’t just like, you know, you submit something and people agree and like a switch. It gets involved. mented I mean, this is really the ground work being laid in our industry. And the exciting part is we can have a seat at the table, you can
Cary Black 51:09
get to the table. If anyone is interested in wants, you know, maybe some introductions into the different subcommittees or more about STM, I’m sure they’ll put maybe my webpage or my email up that people can reach out and be happy to help out. The more people we have participating, the stronger our standards become. And that’s at every level of participation. And so I can’t say enough about the importance of that. Every journey begins with one step. Regardless of where that journey is going. We may be looking at the what I call the agricultural revolution and likening that to the Industrial Revolution, you know, the cannabis revolution and maybe that’s more appropriate.
Shayda Torabi 51:55
That is our future, I believe.
Cary Black 51:59
I really appreciate I really appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to talk about the idea of standardization and that, again, I’m happy to be a resource for anyone out there that wants more information. Or once you know the right contacts to get involved or the specifics or so forth, I’m happy to accommodate that.
Shayda Torabi 52:20
Again, I know that wasn’t your typical marketing talk, but this isn’t your typical Marketing Show. And this industry is brand new. So we have a lot of gaps as an industry that we need to fill. So as marketers we can do our jobs. I joined asdm because I wanted to have a seat at the table and help contribute to the standardization of this industry. There are a few different subcommittees under d 37. Cannabis so you can find one that resonates with your particular experience or brand and go from there. But Carrie is a great resource and loves to help people get involved in asdm. So take him up and connect with him directly if you have any questions. As for me, I’m always here for you. to please let me know if you have anyone who you think would make a good guest for the show. I aim to continue to make this a valuable hour for you. So let me know what’s working what’s not and how we can continue to grow and talk about marketing cannabis together. So let’s keep the conversation going until the next episode. Bye. Love this
episode of To be blunt. Be sure to visit be Shayda torabi.com slash to be blonde for more ways to connect new episodes come out on Mondays. And for more behind the scenes follow along on Instagram at the Shayda Torabi