American pot is the gold standard. But Canada leads the export game — for now. – The Colorado Sun

By Markian Hawryluk, Kaiser Health News

In a large warehouse, LivWell Enlightened Health feeds its cloned cannabis plants a custom blend of nutrients, sprays them with filtered water and pumps extra carbon dioxide into the air. LivWell releases three types of insects to clear the plants of unwanted pests without the use of toxic pesticides.

Every part of the growing process is meticulously documented and evaluated to constantly refine the process.

After 20 years of experience, legal marijuana growers in the U.S. have the reputation of creating the best product in the world, scientifically grown and tightly regulated for quality and safety.

The crop would be in high demand internationally — perhaps the centerpiece of a new U.S. industry — if not for the regulatory conundrum in which growers operate.

Because marijuana is legal in many states but still illegal federally, marijuana growers are unable to ship their products to other countries or even other American states that have legalized the drug. So while U.S. cannabis firms have driven product innovation and mastered the science of large-scale grow operations, they restlessly wait for the export curtain to lift.

Instead Canada has emerged as the dominant exporter in the burgeoning global trade of marijuana, which ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics estimated at $14.9 billion in sales for 2019. Companies there are raising capital and building international trade ties despite having an unlikely climate to be an agricultural pot haven.

Rezwan Khan, vice president of global corporate development for cannabis seed supplier DNA Genetics, believes that U.S. cannabis is the world’s best but said: “Canada has a huge advantage, because they can fill a gap.”

LivWell is building new grow rooms with 30- to 40-foot-high ceilings and state-of-the-art LED lighting that is cool enough to be placed very close to the plant.

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