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how to get a job growing weed for the government

How to get a job growing weed for the government

The DEA has also implied it’s not looking for candidates with “previous experience handling controlled substances,” regardless of marijuana’s legal status in the state where they reside. The disclaimer is enough to scare away applicants who have dabbled in cultivating pot.

STAT’s Andrew Joseph learned from speaking with researchers that many are wary of the costs associated with opening a cultivation facility. Construction alone could set growers back millions of dollars, according to an attorney who formerly coordinated Illinois’ medical marijuana program.

Until now, the University of Mississippi has cornered the market on marijuana manufacturing.

The agency is reportedly recruiting people to grow marijuana for federally sanctioned research in the US.

Health news site STAT contacted almost a dozen agriculture schools last month and found that not one was interested or planned to apply for registration with the DEA.

Growers must also show evidence they have security measures in place to keep the marijuana safe from prying hands, which adds to the expenditures.

Over four decades ago, the DEA teamed up with the University of Mississippi to grow weed legally and distribute it for federally authorized studies. Because of this monopoly, scientists had to wait years to get their hands on research-grade drugs that meet their specifications. Allowing more universities to grow means there will be more strains available for study.

STAT put in calls to universities from coast to coast, including schools in pot-friendly states, such as the University of California – Davis, Colorado State University, and Oregon State University, which offers a sociology class on “marijuana policy in the 21st century.”

Saying you grow marijuana “for research” sounds like an excuse an 18-year-old college student would give to campus security. But the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is looking for candidates to do just that.

How to get a job growing weed for the government

Besides the challenges of growing a sufficient amount of high-quality cannabis for a rapidly growing market, cannabis companies have to deal with something that illegal growers do not — government regulation.

A commercial medical-cannabis cultivation facility in Moncton, Canada. Credit: Organigram Inc.

Although small-scale growers of illicit cannabis can get away with vague descriptions of strains and considerable variation between batches, commercial producers have to meet the same standards as they would for other consumer products. They need to produce a reliable product and follow the stringent rules and regulations that apply to product labelling and safety in their country.

Testing, testing

Brian Owens is a freelance journalist in St Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada.

Such labs are beginning to adopt standardized tests for potency and purity using gas chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography. They are also developing methods to identify and measure levels of THC and other cannabinoids, as well as contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticide residues. “These aren’t necessarily new tests that have been created for this industry, but the type that had to be applied for this product,” says Brauninger.

Cannabis analytical labs are becoming more professional. “I’ve seen an evolution in the sophistication of the industry,” Brauninger says. “Most of the people running labs now have PhDs and experience in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s light years more sophisticated than five or six years ago.”

Many of the challenges of large-scale cannabis production can be solved by drawing on the experience of the commercial greenhouse industry, says Zheng. Growing crops commercially requires a homogenous soil and consistent irrigation. Small variations can mean that parts of the crop dry out at different rates, which leads to the spread of pathogenic agents and root rot, and to an inconsistent product. But the tomato industry, for example, has experience of growing tens to hundreds of hectares of produce at a time, and that expertise can be transferred easily to cannabis growers, says Zheng.