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Report on the CannTx-3M Cannabis Symposium

On Wednesday, May 8, approximately 50 cannabis industry insiders and guests gathered at 3M Canada’s offices in Milton to attend a Cannabis Symposium, co-hosted by CannTx Life Sciences.

The event was well attended and featured speakers from industry-leading companies and academia discussing a wide variety of topics.

The day began with a stage-setting presentation from Cannabis Compliance Inc., entitled “Regulations Surrounding New Cannabis Product Categories.” An informative and brief update on Health Canada’s position on production facilities and marketing issues was covered by Samuel Bouabane and Shirley Toms. The number of questions generated suggested that this area was of keen interest to everyone attending.

Next up was Dr. Max Jones, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Dr. Jones gave a presentation on Plant Tissue Culture Techniques with a focus on micropropagation and its application in cannabis production. Essentially, micropropagation is the best alternative for those processors with a small footprint and a requirement for rapid multiplication.  Micropropagated plants were positioned as sterile, easy to ship, and the basis for biotech breeding. He noted, however, that this type of production does come with a cost.

Following a short networking break, the symposium heard from Patrick Marchand, PhD. Chemist and Director of Innovation, at Groupe Sani-Marc.  Dr. Marchand gave a presentation on biofilms, which are groupings of microorganisms that stick to surfaces. Biofilms pose a significant hazard in agri-food establishments, resulting in numerous product recalls each year. Dr. Marchand also touched upon two Sani-Marc flagship products - BioDetect and BioDestroy, the latter of which is one of the first products approved by Health Canada for its ability to kill and destroy biofilms, thereby improving not only the safety of facilities but that of their finished products.

Next up was CannTx Co-Founder Buck Young, who gave the audience an introduction to CannTx’s business-to-business brand - - Steadystem Solutions- and its suite of services, through a presentation about quality as the primary driver of consumer purchasing in the floral cannabis market. He took the audience through the current state of cannabis production and product, as well as outlining the sensory rituals consumers have confirmed as important in determining quality and setting up the perfect cannabis experience. 

Following Mr. Young was Dr. Youbin Zheng. Dr. Zheng is a faculty member of the School of Environmental Science at the University of Guelph. He has been studying on how to produce high-value plants (e.g., medicinal, nutraceutical, edible and ornamental plants) under controlled environments for more than 20 years, and, with his research group, published North American’s first two scientific papers on how to produce cannabis under controlled environments in 2018. Dr. Zheng focused on two main aspects of cannabis production with his presentation on Rootzone & Lighting Environment Management for High Yield and Quality Cannabis Production.

The day closed with a final presentation on Environmental Monitoring programs by Ana Maria Lozano, Professional Services Representative, Food Safety Division, 3M Canada. A microbiologist by trade, Ms. Lozano has over 14 years of experience working in the food industry, including dairy products, ice cream, water, condiment, and dressing products. Her diverse expertise ranges from quality assurance, quality control, good manufacturing practices (GMPs), good laboratory practices (GLPs), hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) system, and research and development. There was an excellent discussion on the application of Food Safety to cannabis production.

The 3M and CannTx Life Sciences Cannabis Symposium was a huge success. CannTx President Mike Abbott was very pleased with the turnout and noted how Jeff Scanlon (VP Operations) and Pat Scanlon (Production Manager) were engaged in answering many of the participant’s questions on Steadystem B2B products and the Company’s newly developed suite of micropropagation services.

3M and CannTx are planning a follow-up event. The two organizations have canvassed those that attended for additional information needs on the future of cannabis processing. Feedback has confirmed that this style of intimate and informative educational programmes are welcomed by the industry.