Cannabis is a multi-billion dollar global industry and continues growing steadily each year. Increased state legalization drives cannabis industry growth in the United States. As of January 2022, 18 states allow adult recreational use, plus Washington D.C. and Guam. New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana legalized marijuana in the fourth quarter of 2020, with more states – and possibly the federal government – expected to follow.
Medical use is also growing as doctors use cannabis more frequently to treat health issues, including cancer-related pain, seizures, Alzheimer’s, and eye disorders. Cannabis legalization for medical purposes now includes 37 states, plus D.C. and Guam. Several more states allow CBD oil for medical use.
The consumer trend of moving away from black-market suppliers to legal dispensaries also fuels increases in legalized cannabis production and sales. In parts of the U.S., some large dispensaries now offer customers mainstream shopping experiences, greeting shoppers with features such as upscale décor, attractive product display cases, gift shops, and adjoining
bistros and coffee shops.
Widespread acceptance, legalization, and medical use bring increased regulatory oversight and higher quality standards. The cannabis industry has entered the world of pharmaceutical and food products, with strict standards for cannabis growth, processing, storage, and distribution.
Benefits of stainless steel
Stainless steel is perfectly suited to help meet the regulatory needs and standards of the cannabis industry. It is already used extensively in the food, pharmaceutical, and biomedical industries for manufacturing, research, storage, transportation, and delivery. Many benefits contribute to stainless steel’s practicality in industries with high safety and quality standards. Some of food-grade and medical-grade stainless steel’s benefits include:
● Durable and cost-effective – lasts for years and through multiple uses
● Heat-resistant – withstands extremely high temperatures
● Corrosion-resistant – resists pitting and corrosion even when exposed to harsh
chemicals, including salts
● Easy to clean and sanitize – can be sanitized with heat or chemicals and has a smooth
surface that’s easy to clean
● Flexible – can be formed into an endless range of containers, equipment, and
● Customizable – can be designed to meet your specific needs and bring your ideas to
● Low reactivity – helps protect the purity and stability of stored products
● Traceability – can be marked with laser etching and lot numbers for easy tracking
● Ease of transportation – sturdy enough for packing and transporting product across
● Prevents degradation by light exposure
Stainless steel’s durability can be further improved with passivation and electropolishing for a micro-smooth finish. This makes the steel even more resistant to corrosion or pitting and makes it even easier to sanitize thoroughly.
Stainless Steel provides a more secure storage option than glass and plastics containers.
Types of processing equipment
Since stainless steel can be formed into an infinite variety of products, it’s an excellent material for the wide range of marijuana processing equipment and cannabis oil processing equipment:
● During the marijuana growth process, cannabis water storage tanks are critical for keeping an adequate water supply on hand. Cone bottom storage tanks are also useful for creating compost tea for businesses that use water-soaked compost as marijuana plant food and fertilizer. Stainless steel is an excellent choice for these containers, since it is easily sanitized and resists corrosion and pitting that could contaminate water supplies and plant food.
● Stainless steel extractors and collection vessels are necessary during the cannabis pressure extraction process. Depending on what process is used for extraction, high heat and volatility are possible. Stainless steel is high-temp-resistant and easy to sanitize between batches.
● Once CBD oil has been extracted from the plant, it can be stored in a stainless steel CBD oil tank. The low reactivity of stainless steel makes it the ideal storage material for a product that depends heavily on purity and quality.
● And at the final point of delivery, stainless steel is perfect for use in dispensary equipment. Being easy to clean, able to withstand frequent heat or chemical sanitation, non-reactive with products.
All cannabis products must be traced throughout planting, growth, processing, distribution, and sales. This is called seed to sale or end to end tracking. If a consumer gets ill or has negative effects from using a cannabis product, traceability makes it possible to track where the product originated and recall products if needed. It also protects the chain of custody, increasing the safety of cannabis products. Traceability also makes it harder for unethical growers or distributors to bring unregulated products into the legal marketplace. This can benefit honest businesses. The main system mandated by states to track cannabis is METRC (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance). METRC uses a system of scannable tags for products combined with track and trace software. The tags are called RFID tags because the scanning system uses radio frequency to scan and identify the tags. Most states also follow some version of the standard FDA regulations for containers, equipment, and closures that come in contact with medications or edible products at any step in the process. This means that the equipment or containers used to hold, process, or transport cannabis can’t be reactive, additive, or absorptive. This is so that they will not alter the safety, identity, strength, quality, or purity of the cannabis or cannabis products. The equipment, containers, and closures also must be maintained and sanitized to discourage microbial growth or contamination, with regular sanitation schedules. To help you report, track, and document what equipment you’re using as well as scheduled maintenance and cleaning, all Eagle Stainless products can be laser etched with lot numbers or other identifying information as needed.
Best products for the cannabis industry
For the best stainless steel products for the cannabis industry, consider working with stainless steel equipment suppliers who have experience. A history of reliable service to the longer-standing food and pharmaceutical industries is a good indicator of the company’s familiarity with regulatory requirements for consumable products and their ability to meet strict high quality standards. Eagle Stainless has years of experience working with the food, pharmaceutical, and biomedical industries.
Look for the best quality raw materials too. Not all stainless steel is created equal. Food-grade and medical-grade stainless steel products are usually created from the 300 series of stainless steel, with 304, 316, or 316L grades being the most common. This 316L series provides the best combination of durability, low reactivity, heat and chemical resistance.
Surface Finish is another criteria to consider. At Eagle Stainless, we use a minimum 10 Ra finish, with electropolishing and passivation available for a micro-smooth finish and increased corrosion and pitting resistance.
Finally, choose products that can meet your business’ customized needs. Whether you need a different size than standard or have a specialized vessel that you need developed, a custom fabricator can help you bring your vision to life. At Eagle Stainless, our engineering team can provide modifications to current products, custom fabrications, or help you choose from our vast library of designs.