The cannabis industry is currently a very lucrative one, with its product able to be sold for up to $28 per gram on the black market. However, there are many hurdles that must be overcome before the cannabis industry can become a legitimate and mainstream business.

The the process of making a raw material into a finished product is the process of making cannabis from raw materials to finished goods. There are many steps in this process, and each step has its own purpose.

From-Raw-Materials-to-Finished-Goods

 

Facility layout and design are critical components of overall operations, both in terms of optimizing the efficacy and efficiency of processes carried out at a facility and in terms of fulfilling people requirements. The activities and processes that will be carried out at a facility must be mapped out and assessed before purchasing an existing building or investing in new construction to establish the suitable infrastructure and flow of processes and materials. Multiple product and process flows must be included into the design and development of cannabis marketplaces where vertical integration is the necessary business model. If you want to comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) or process in an ISO certified cleanroom, you’ll need to think about building materials and key utilities. Whatever kind of facility is required or desired, all relevant local, federal, and international laws and standards must be examined to assure appropriate design, construction, and operation, as well as employee safety.

Construction Materials

To avoid the harboring of germs and damage from chemical residues, interior work surfaces, walls, floors, and ceilings should be made of non-porous, smooth, and corrosive resistant surfaces that are readily cleanable. For high-traffic areas, flooring should be durable, stain-resistant, and chemical-resistant. Measurement Of Antibacterial Activity On Plastics And Other Non-Porous Surfaces, ISO 22196:2011 22 describes a technique for determining the antibacterial activity of antibacterially treated plastics and other nonporous product surfaces (including intermediate products). The requirements of ASTM E108 -11, Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Roof Coverings7, UL 790, Standard for Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Roof Coverings 8, the International Building Code (IBC) 9, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 11, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the International Building Code (IBC) 9 should be met. 

Utilities

In the early stages of a facility’s construction, critical and non-essential utilities must be considered. The utilities that, when utilized, have the potential to affect product quality are known as critical utilities. Water systems, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), compressed air, and pure steam are examples of these utilities. Non-critical utilities may not pose a direct threat to product quality, but they are required to ensure a facility’s successful, compliance, and safe operations. Electrical infrastructure, lighting, fire detection and suppression systems, gas detection, and sewage are examples of these utilities.

  1. Water

Water quality, both chemical and microbiological, is a crucial element in the design phase of cannabis operations that is often neglected. Water is used to water plants, wash employees’ hands, and perhaps as a component in the compounding/formulation of final products. It is also used for cleaning. Water for Pharmaceutical Purposes 2, Chapter 1231 of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), offers comprehensive advice on the design, operation, and monitoring of water systems. Water quality should be tested and monitored to guarantee compliance with microbiological and chemical requirements depending on the water type, intended application, and environment. Chemical monitoring techniques are provided in USP Chapter 643, Total Organic Carbon 5, and Chapter 645, Water Conductivity 6. Microbial monitoring methods are given in USP Chapter 61, Testing: Microbial Enumeration Tests 3and Chapter 62, Testing: Tests for Specified Microorganisms 4. During the facility design process, overall water consumption must be addressed. Water is utilized for heating and cooling of the HVAC system, fogging in pest control operations, and wastewater treatment procedures, in addition to irrigation, cleaning, product processing, and personal hygiene. The water system of a facility must be able to handle the quantity of water needed for the whole activity. Water use and drainage must adhere to strict environmental guidelines. Water consumption restrictions, capture and reuse standards, and laws governing runoff and erosion management may be imposed by state and local governments, which must be addressed as part of the water system design.

  1. Lighting

For a cultivation facility, lighting considerations must strike a balance between energy economy and plant development. High-intensity discharge (HID) lighting, which comprises metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs, has traditionally been the favored lighting option. However, owing to increasing energy savings and new technology, light-emitting diodes (LED) systems have recently gained favor. Employees must be able to do their jobs efficiently and securely, which necessitates enough illumination. Many jobs on the factory floor or in the lab require meticulous attention to detail. As a result, while constructing a facility, adequate lighting is an important factor to consider.

  1. HVAC

When planning a facility, lighting is an important factor to consider.

Temperature, relative humidity (RH), ventilation, and air quality all play a part in keeping cannabis operations running well. The HVAC system at a facility has a direct effect on the agricultural and production conditions, and its performance may make or break an operation’s success. In a cultivation facility, lighting and water usage/irrigation schedules may affect sensible heat ratios (SHRs) and relative humidity (RH). Considerations for dehumidification, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Committee Blog: Why Should We Include a “D” for Dehumidification? An Introduction to HVACD for Indoor Plant Environments – Why Should We Include a “D” for Dehumidification? 26 are essential for plant growth and vitality, preventing microbiological development in the workplace, and ensuring product shelf-life and stability. When commissioning an HVAC system, all of these variables must be considered. HVAC systems with temperature, relative humidity, and pressure sensors should be evaluated. Sensor installation enables for real-time monitoring and a proactive strategy to resolving excursions that may have a detrimental effect on the workplace.

  1. Air that has been compressed

Compressed air is another important component of cannabis manufacturing that is frequently neglected. Compressed air may be used for a variety of tasks, including blowing off and drying work surfaces, bottles/containers, and supplying air for pneumatically controlled valves and cylinders prior to filling operations. Nonviable particulates, water, oil, and viable microbes are all common pollutants in compressed air. Contaminants should be kept under control with the use of in-line filtration. The use of compressed air that has the potential to affect the end product’s quality and safety must be monitored and tested on a regular basis. Air quality standards are divided into classes in ISO 8573:2010, Compressed Air Specifications 21, to assist distinguish air needs depending on facility type.

  1. Infrastructure in the Electrical Sector

Facilities should be built to satisfy the electrical requirements of equipment functioning, lighting, and HVAC system accuracy. The National Electrical Code (NEC) 12, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 13, National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) 14, International Building Code (IBC) 9, International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 15, and any other relevant standards dictated by the Authority Having Jurisdiction should be followed when designing processes and procedures (AHJ).

  1. Fire Detection and Extinguishment

“Facilities should be built to be readily extended or modified to suit changing production and market demands.” The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 11, the International Building Code (IBC) 9, the International Fire Code (IFC) 10, and any other applicable requirements imposed by the Authority Having Jurisdiction should be followed while installing and maintaining fire detection and suppression systems (AHJ). As specified in NFPA 170, Standard for Fire Safety and Emergency Symbols 27, facilities shall offer standard symbols to convey fire safety, emergency, and related risks information.

  1. detection of gas

According to the IBC, Chapter 39, Section 3905 9, processes that use flammable vapors and solvents must have a continuous gas monitoring system. The gas detection limit shall not exceed 25% of the materials’ lower explosive limit/lower flammability limit (LEL/LFL). Gas detection systems should be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 864, Standard for Control Units and Accessories for Fire Alarm Systems 16, UL 2017, Standard for General-Purpose Signaling Devices and Systems 17, and UL 2075, Standard for Gas and Vapor Detectors and Sensors 18, and/or UL 2017, Standard for General-Purpose Signaling Devices and Systems 17 and UL 2075, Standard for Gas and Vapor Detectors and Sensors 18.

Flow of Products and Processes

Material and people flow are both considered in product and process flow. A facility’s traditional product and process flow is unidirectional, with raw materials entering on one end and completed products exiting on the other. The danger of mixing unapproved and authorized raw materials, components, and final products is reduced thanks to this design. The use of facility space is maximized by implementing a more streamlined, efficient, and effective process from batch production to final product delivery that is error-free. Furthermore, effective flow minimizes employee safety hazards as well as the financial risk to the company as a consequence of expensive accidents. A constant flow of raw materials and components guarantees that supplies are available when required and that they are accessible without any obstacles that may pose a risk to workers’ safety. Workplace accidents involving the transporting, handling, and storage of goods may be reduced with proper training and education of employees on general safety concepts, specified work procedures, equipment, and controls. 

Management of the Buildings

The processes and procedures needed for the overall upkeep and security of a cannabis business are included in facilities management. Pest control, preventive maintenance of key utilities, and security are all facilities management concerns throughout the planning process.

With the right PCP, damage from whiteflies, thrips, and powdery mildew may be avoided.

A Pest Management Program (PCP) guarantees that pest and vermin control is carried out in order to remove health hazards posed by pests and vermin, as well as to maintain the required levels of cleanliness. Pests often enter via shipping and receiving facilities. A welcome mat or a barrier for rodents, birds, insects, and other vermin, depending on the kind of dock and dock lever employed. PCP planning, implementation, and monitoring procedures should be defined in Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

To ensure optimum performance and minimize microbiological and/or particle intrusion into the work environment, routine preventive maintenance (PM) on essential utilities should be performed. Filter replacement, leak and velocity testing, cleaning and sanitization, airflow adjustment, examination of the air intake, fans, bearings, and belts, and calibration of monitoring sensors are all examples of scheduled PMs.

As part of the licensing procedure in most medical cannabis markets, a defined Security Program is required. D8205 Guide for Video Surveillance System 23, D8217 Guide for Access Control System[24], and D8218 Guide for Intrusion Detection System (IDS) 25 are ASTM International standards that offer information on how to build up an appropriate facility security system and program. Security cameras should be installed in all facilities. The number and placement of security cameras should be determined by the facility’s size, design, and layout. Larger facilities may need more cameras to guarantee that all “blind spots” are handled. An alarm system with 24/7 tracking should be used to monitor the facility security system. According to the AHJ, the retention of surveillance data should be specified in a SOP. If you use motion detectors, be sure they’re connected to your alarm system, automated lighting, and notification reporting. To avoid cut-and-drop infiltration, motion sensors should be installed on the roof. The alarm system should be checked on a daily and yearly basis to guarantee good functioning. To prevent illegal entry to the facility, physical barriers such as fencing, locked gates, lockable doors, window protection, and automated access systems should be utilized. Local security, fire safety, and zoning laws must all be followed while installing security barriers. All doors and gates should have high-security locks fitted. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) access cards, biometric entry systems, keys, locks, or codes should all be used to manage facility access. All locations where cannabis raw material or cannabis-derived products are produced or kept should be monitored, secured, and only authorized employees should have access. “Restricted Area – Authorized Personnel Only” should be clearly marked in certain locations.

Expansion Plans

The idea of growth in the early phases of facility design is usually the last thing on the minds of the company owner(s) as they attempt to get the operation up and running, but it is almost certainly the first thing on the minds of investors if they are engaged in the endeavor. Facilities should be built to be readily extended or adapted to suit changing production and market demands. If future growth is expected, consideration must be given to how key systems, products, and process flows may be affected. The aim should be to reduce downtime while increasing manufacturing output and space. As a result, effective planning ahead of time for future expansion is critical for the operation’s profitability and efficiency as it navigates those changes.

The raw materials examples are products that have been made from raw cannabis. These products can be used for a variety of purposes such as smoking, vaping, and cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process of converting raw materials into finished goods?

The process of converting raw materials into finished goods is a long and complicated one. In order to understand it, we must first look at the basics of economics and the production function.

What are the raw materials and finished products?

Raw materials are the natural ingredients of a product, and finished products are what you get when you take raw materials and process them to create a new product.

What is the relationship between raw materials and finished goods?

Raw materials are the basic building blocks of a finished good. If you want to make something, you need raw materials to do so.

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