Cannabis post-harvest automation remains elusive

If more technologically advanced ways of growing cannabis do exist, the legalized cannabis industry's largest players don’t need to know about them.

The Aurora Sky farm in Alberta, for example, has reached near science-fiction levels of sophistication – it’s an 800,000-square-foot hybrid greenhouse where robotic arms hoist massive pallets of plants on to cranes and conveyor belts while inspection drones buzz overhead – but alas in such a highly regulated market there aren’t enough distribution outlets to absorb such mass production.

Digitally smart, robotics-abetted facilities run by Canadian mega-cultivators such as Aurora Cannabis may be ahead of their time but that’s only in terms of the grow phase. When it comes to the post-harvest, there's room for innovation. “The tech is getting closer but we’re not there yet,” said Michael Sassano, CEO, Solaris Farms, a cannabis cultivator based in Las Vegas.

Existing machine trimmers aren't cost effective (on a per-pound basis relative to human labor) because they can damage too many precious trichromes, which are the barely visible crystal-like hairs covering the buds, secreting the cannabinoids (chemicals i.e. THC/CBD) that intoxicate/heal.


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