America’s marijuana growers are the best in the world, but federal laws are keeping them out of global markets – Seattle Times

DENVER — 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, and releases three types of insects to clear  unwanted pests without the use of toxic pesticides.

Every part of the growing process is meticulously documented and evaluated to 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 U.S. states that have legalized the drug. So while U.S. cannabis firms have driven product innovation and mastered large-scale grow operations, they wait for the export curtain to lift.

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

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“Canada has a huge advantage, because they can fill a gap,” said Rezwan Khan, vice president of global corporate development for cannabis-seed supplier DNA Genetics.

“World wants technology”

California’s growers have been developing legal marijuana products since 1996, longer than everywhere but Amsterdam. Khan describes the state as “the epicenter of cannabis culture.”

California’s cannabis seeds have been distributed all over the world, and many foreign firms are trying to reproduce the quality

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