Marijuana: Now Officially As Normal As Steel, Cement, and Rubber

Industry standards group ASTM adds pot to its portfolio.


ASTM International

Mark another milestone in the mainstreaming of marijuana: One of the world's largest and oldest organizations for developing technical standards is now making space for the pot business.

The group is ASTM International, a hub of consensus-based self-regulation. Originally founded in 1898 to work out testing and material standards for the steel used on railroad lines, the organization soon branched out beyond steel, debating and adopting guidelines for cement, petroleum, rubber, and more than 100 other areas. As of June, when its cannabis committee first meets, those areas will include marijuana. Different subcommittees will tackle such topics as pot horticulture, quality management, processing and handling, security and transportation, personnel training, and even terminology. In an industry where federal regulations consist mostly of penalties for possessing or selling the goods, setting these standards means working out an elaborate collection of best practices from the ground up.

The most important effect will be to bring more stability to the industry and more predictability to its products. But don't discount the cultural change that this represents too. You know you're a long way from the just-say-no years when a video like this can exist: