Commercial cannabis scales—bench scales, checkweighers, and floor scales—are vital tools utilized in every segment of the cannabis industry. Throughout the production and distribution of cannabis, accurate weighing systems are necessary not only for pricing and inventory management but for compliance with governing institutions and regulatory bodies. It’s no exaggeration that, from planting seeds to the point of sale, the process of weighing factors in every stage of cannabis production.
Since California first legalized medical marijuana in 1996, the cannabis industry’s growth throughout North America has been astounding. Despite the that the United States Congress has yet to legalize cannabis on a federal level, the combined number of states that have legalized it for recreational and medical use represent the largest cannabis market in the world. California alone is the single largest cannabis market worldwide, larger than the entirety of Canada, where cannabis is legal and, as a country, represents the next largest market.
Today, the production, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana for recreational purposes is legal in 19 US states. Add to that 38 US states that have legalized cannabis for medical use. You can begin to grasp the market dynamic, its growth and expansion, and the necessity of accurate weighing systems. Every market the cannabis industry is active in is a boom. The global legal adult-use cannabis market is valued at $16.5 billion annually, with 96.8% of that share in North America. By 2025, the global cannabis market is expected to grow to $33.6 billion, with an estimated $25 billion in sales in the US alone.*
The Importance of Accurate Weighing Systems
As with any agricultural commodity, weight determines pricing from cultivation to the point of sale. It’s no different for the cannabis industry. As weight determines the price point, the accuracy of every unit weighed is essential. Accurate weighing systems streamline operations at every production stage, increase profit margins, and provide assurance that operations comply with regulatory bodies for correct weight documentation.
In the multi-billion dollar cannabis trade, accurate weight readings are vital for every industry sector. Growers, medical laboratories and pharmacies, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, and retail dispensaries rely on precise weighing systems. Cannabis processing environments are as varied as the strains of Sativa and Indica. Weighing systems are needed at field sites, indoor growing facilities, bulk packaging, plant processing, dispensaries, and retail shops.
Weighing Scales and Balances
Weighing scales and balances are instruments used for measuring and determining the weight or mass of a particular object or load. In the cannabis industry, these instruments are indispensable tools of the trade. In any industry, all goods sold by weight must be sold by scales that have been certified legal for trade. For retailers in the US, legal marijuana scales require a certification issued by the NTEP (National Conference on Weights and Measures) to ensure accuracy. Scales, not NTEP certified may have a potential for inaccurate weight readings, subject to possible violations of state and local regulations, resulting in fines.
The use of scales also has a vital role in managing product inventory—its value and quantity—and in compliance with state or local regulations. Using scales will ensure that inventory counts are current, enable you to monitor products from intentional or unintentional loss due to theft or weight estimates, and allow you to account for each gram sold. The latter is essential to remain compliant with reporting and to ensure that accurate taxes are collected and paid.
Standard Scales Utilized by the Cannabis Industry
As the name suggests, a bench scale, also referred to as a bench top scale or compact scale, is a digital weighing device designed to fit on most workbenches, tabletops, and workstations. Versatile and durable, bench scales are lightweight, mobile, and easy to relocate from one workbench to another—wherever the user needs to place the scale.
Unlike the bench scale, floor scales are industrial weighing devices that operate on a floor level. Convenient, mobile, and easy to use, floor scales are designed to weigh higher capacity items that may be too cumbersome, oversized, or too large for a tabletop scale.
Checkweigher machines are commonly used in the packaging and process industries to weigh products as they move through production lines. The machines verify weights, signal whether an item is underweight or overweight, and other quality control processes. They are used to ensure compliance with applicable contents and packaging laws or regulations and to fulfill any required reporting standards.
Advanced weighing systems are necessary for all segments of the cannabis market. As the cannabis market continues to grow and expand, its vitality will become increasingly dependent on the accuracy of the weighing systems utilized by the industry. Cannabis scales help ensure that operations run smoothly and efficiently at every stage and during all aspects of production—from field sites and indoor growing facilities to the point of sale (POS) at retail locations and dispensaries. In addition to accuracy, such systems also provide companies with the added assurance that they are compliant with state and local laws.
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