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Cannabis Industry Standards: A Conversation with David Vaillencourt


We recently sat down with David Vaillencourt, a cannabis industry standards expert, to discuss his work in developing frameworks of safety, quality, and compliance in cannabis.

Read the transcript below or watch the video

Qredible: Welcome to the Qredible Live Broadcast! I’m speaking with David Vaillencourt, a cannabis industry standards expert and founder of S3 Collective. David has been instrumental in developing frameworks for safety, quality, and compliance across the cannabis industry.

David, can you start by telling us about your background and how you became involved in cannabis standardization?

David: I come from a science background and worked in lab testing and data analytics. In 2017, I attended a standards development meeting and saw major potential to shape safety and quality in this nascent industry. Since then, I’ve focused on helping companies implement proven best practices from food, pharma, and other sectors to make cannabis credible and safe through entities like GMP Collective and now the nonprofit S3 Collective.

Cannabis Isn’t Unregulated – It’s Misregulated

Qredible: You’ve described cannabis as a “misregulated” rather than unregulated industry. Can you expand on what you mean by that?

David: When states first regulated cannabis, the focus was security and diversion, not safety and quality. But cannabis is a consumer product that must meet higher standards to gain trust. Just because it wasn’t addressed initially doesn’t mean we can ignore safety. The industry must collaborate to solve urgent issues before catastrophe forces change. Consumers deserve confidence in what they’re purchasing.

Qredible: Absolutely. What systematic improvements do you think are most critical as we work to develop standards?

David: We need a solutions-oriented framework that establishes baseline standards and responsibilities around safety and quality. The goal should be displacing illegal markets through regimented oversight, not punishing businesses trying to act responsibly. We must identify problems jointly, involve key stakeholders, and commit to equitable rules of trade that lift all boats. Technology is key to implementing and enforcing standards.

Self-Regulating in the Cannabis Industry

Qredible: You’re doing pivotal work driving alignment through groups like ASTM International. Why is participation in groups like ASTM critical right now?

David: ASTM allows us to develop an industry-wide framework following established processes. We can collaboratively solve pressing issues like lab standards, product testing, labeling, etc., and incorporate broad expertise from suppliers to regulators. In-person collaboration at ASTM is invaluable for hammering out standards. It costs nothing to join, so there’s no barrier to shaping the future of cannabis.

Qredible: David, thank you for your tireless work furthering consumer safety in this industry. How can people get involved in these important efforts?

David: Getting involved is easy! Joining ASTM is a great start to directly help shape standards. Attend one of S3’s events to connect with other stakeholders. And reach out if you have expertise to lend or want to get engaged. It takes an entire village to enact change, so thank you for being part of the solution.


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