Grading as a Service

Lara KaminiskyGeneralLeave a Comment

Cannabis Grading Report Card

We sat down with Jhavid Mohseni of Aperon Corporation to talk about cannabis grading and the TOP 5 things producers and processors should keep in mind regarding the quality and care of wholesale material and the upcoming changes regarding mandated pesticide testing.  

Q: First, can you tell us a little bit about Tamerlane and Big Tree Grading? How did they get started and why did you get involved in the business of brokerage and cannabis grading?

Tamerlane came out of the overwhelming need I was hearing from producers/processors asking for help with sourcing or selling bulk material. I was literally asked by 100’s of operators and visited 1000’s of operations in order to learn how to help licensed operators to sell or source.   That together with a question that had been on my mind since recreational legalization was starting, “How will cannabis be traded globally.”

Big Tree was born out of the need to have a seperate company and team providing the valuable service of standardization, appraisal, grading, and quality verification which exists in all other commodity markets. A separate entity was created to avoid any conflicts of interests that are created when a broker is also the qualitative grader and appraiser. Buyers and sellers require an independent third party service to grade and appraise their bulk wholesale material. Without it you’re buying or selling blind, or with a limited perspective.

Both companies work to address problems that stem from inefficient or complicated bulk sales and sourcing, the lack of trust that can occur between buyers and sellers and the limited transparency most buyers and sellers have on quality and fair market value for material.

Q: What does quality mean to you?

To me, high quality is something you can trust, which demonstrates a care and thoughtfulness to providing a ‘better’ or ‘more improved’ experience.

Q: When grading a product what are the issues you see most often that reduce the value of a product?

Some real issues started at the end of 2018 through the 1st quarter of 2021, when the increased demand and higher prices allowed bulk wholesale suppliers/producers/sellers to get sloppy, and cut corners. If you want to have what buyers want and provide a consistent reliable sales/sourcing opportunity, our advice is to do the following 5 things:

  1. Sort your material by size and product type. A-flower in one bag, B-flower in another, and trim in another. If you have two types of trim, or two processes, keep that material separated. Mixing material dilutes the value.
  2. Establish good material handling and processes. Leaving waterleaf on the plant when breaking down the material specifically contaminates the trim with unusable biomass. Ensuring that all large stems, sticks and stalks are also removed is key.
  3. Properly Dry and Cure. So many times we see great weed destroyed with improper dry/cure, drying space, not enough, or too much burping, and more. Years of experience and appraisal services provide best practices for maximizing profit through proper processing.
  4. Create adequate storage solutions. Anyone storing for any amount of time, should have cold, dark, and airtight solutions. Nitrogen flushed is even better. The enemy to your material quality is heat, light, oxygen, and time.
  5. Perform Testing and Grading. Not testing your material from a lab, or skipping the 3rd party cannabis grading not only opens a buyer and seller up to manageable risk, but it also limits the value a seller can charge for their material. As markets evolve, and operators scale, consistency and reliability will receive a premium. Lab testing and 3rd party quality grading delivers that to the buyer.

Q: Talk to us more about what you are seeing with testing. WA State just passed rules to formally mandate pesticide testing in less than a month, how do you see that impacting the market?

I see this change having a number of unintended consequences both positive and negative.

  • It will force innovation in pest and mold control.
  • It will frustrate and anger many growers who are not able to adjust or refuse to change.
  • It will help usher genetic hunts not only for cannabinoids or terpenes, but also for plants resistance to pests and molds.
  • This will bring about new ways to meet the requirements with inventive and imaginative practices.

Q: What steps would you recommend growers take to reduce any negative impacts?

Start testing for pesticides now. Honestly, folks should have started in 2017 during the last big dip. If you are using something on the banned list, figure out how to grow without it ASAP.

Q: One last question on testing, how does lab data play a role in how product is graded and sold?

Lab data is a critical value to any bulk wholesale lot or a packaged product heading to the shelves. A lab with solid SOP’s, testing standards, and the integrity to report actual true data provides an integral piece of transparency and insight for anyone evaluating the material.

Lab tests do not play a role in the qualitative analysis or final grade, but the lab data does play an important part of the reporting process, and the quantitative analysis that is reported on Big Tree’s Certificate of Grade or the Appraisal report.

Typically, tested material is more valuable, as the testing data and transparency provided from a quality lab, provide the buyer or seller with another layer of transparency. By knowing what the cannabinoid or terpene profile is, or that the material in question is pesticide free, it provides valuable information that obtains a premium in the spot price market and is definitely part of criteria included in power purchase agreements or a forward commitment.

Reach out to Big Tree Cannabis Grading for quality-verification and appraisal services, or Tamerlane Trading for quality-verified brokerage services. Mention the word ‘Certified’ to get in on a special Spring offering. 

20% off your first month/deal at Tamerlane Trading. 

10% discount on your first three months of the ‘Grading as a Service’ package, with a three month commitment at Big Tree Grading.

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