Standardization News

Cannabis Standards Improve Lives

By: 
Aurora Cannabis, Inc.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Aurora) is a global leader in the cannabis industry, serving both the medical and consumer markets. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Aurora is dedicated to helping people improve their lives. Driven by science and innovation, Aurora’s brands continue to break through as industry leaders in the medical, performance, wellness, and recreational markets. The company has locations across Canada and serves 13 medical markets globally, including Germany and Israel.

As cannabis is legalized in more and more countries around the world, both for medical and recreational use, countries have begun looking to Canada — where cannabis has been legal since 2018 — for guidance. Three years into recreational legalization across Canada, there is still much work ahead for the cannabis industry, which continues to collaborate with the Canadian government to refine legislative and regulatory frameworks and processes. And when it comes to standardization in the cannabis industry, there are still many gaps. 

While cannabis has been grown agriculturally for hundreds of years, it has never been legally produced for consumers on a large, commercial scale. Without foundational standards that can be used around the globe, there is no way to ensure that the cannabis you purchase legally is any different than what is being grown in backyards or basements. 

Working together with ASTM International’s committee on cannabis (D37) and licensed producers, Aurora is helping to create the framework for standards to support the cannabis and hemp industries. The committee’s goal is to establish standards for products and processes through the development of terminology, classifications, specifications, test methods, practices, and guides for cultivation, manufacturing, quality assurance, laboratory considerations, packaging, security, and other market-relevant issues. 

This work will create a level playing field among legal producers and establish a resource for governments to develop regulatory frameworks to help ensure that consumers and patients are protected. With many countries beginning to explore medical and recreational cannabis legalization, there is a need for a set of vetted guidelines now more than ever before.

Of note, the cannabis committee has highlighted the following areas of focus and development with subcommittees in the areas of:

  • Indoor and Outdoor Horticulture and Agriculture (D37.01)
  • Quality Management Systems (D37.02)
  • Laboratory (D37.03)
  • Processing and Handling (D37.04)
  • Security and Transportation (D37.05)
  • Personnel Training, Assessment, Credentialing (D37.06)
  • Industrial Hemp (D37.07)
  • Cannabis Devices and Appliances (D37.08)
  • Terminology (D37.91)

While these standards areas are new and specific to the cannabis industry, Aurora uses other ASTM standards as well, particularly in relation to security. Health Canada, the regulatory agency responsible for licensing cannabis producers in Canada, requires all producers to ensure their buildings are secure and have perimeter fencing. Aurora uses the practice for installation of exit devices in security areas (F571) and the guide for the design and construction of chain link security fencing (F2611) from the committees on security systems and equipment (F12) and fences (F14), respectively. With this use, Aurora has been able to leverage industry best practices to ensure the company’s buildings, equipment, and products are secure.

As a leader in the global cannabis industry, Aurora understands the importance of developing and implementing standard processes and procedures. As the company continues to expand its international footprint, these standards will become increasingly important to ensure the consistent quality of our products in highly regulated markets. ■

Company Snapshot

  • Company Headquarters: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Description: Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Aurora) is a global leader in the cannabis industry, serving both the medical and consumer markets. Aurora is a pioneer in global cannabis dedicated to helping people improve their lives.
  • Number of staff: Over 1,700 globally
  • Number of staff who are ASTM members: 5 
  • Yearly revenue: C$72.1 million (2020)
  • Trading area: Global 

*ASTM International is a not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization that develops voluntary consensus standards and defers to appropriate government authorities to determine the legal and regulatory framework regarding the control and use of cannabis.

Industry Sectors:

Issue Month: 
September/October
Issue Year: 
2021
COMMITTEE: 
D37