(This is an abridged version of a column that appears in the September issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)
Hemp is in an economic fast lane, with new ventures starting every day.
So, it may seem odd to say modern entrepreneurs should consider 19th century railroads.
But those railroad magnates faced a familiar problem: They had a new technology that offered society-changing benefits, combined with insatiable market demand.
But they also had technical glitches that threatened how fast the industry could grow.
Rail executives also knew that if they didn’t act quickly, their booming business wouldn’t survive.
Their own engineers could solve the problem better than a bunch of politicians, who were poised to “help” by writing regulations.
The result was the American Society for Testing Materials, today called ASTM International. The organization sets voluntary standards designed to ensure new technologies are safe.
Now ASTM is looking at cannabis – laying the groundwork for global standards as the plant moves out of the black market and beyond its current patchwork of state-by-state rules and regulations.
Click here to read more about what’s at stake for the hemp industry as standards are being written.