What is the Big Tree Certificate of Grade?
By Allison Cohn
The International Cannabis and Hemp Standards (ICHS) Fair Market Certification (FMC) program and standard provides licensed operators — including producers, processors, manufacturers, brands, distributors and end consumers — with a common language with which to communicate the value of hemp and cannabis products throughout the entire supply chain. Big Tree Grading utilizes this standard to apply an objective 100-point grading scale to all the product they grade, and one of the beneficial results of this common language is the Big Tree Certificate of Grade (COG).
WHAT IS THE CERTIFICATE OF GRADE?
The Certificate of Grade is objective, and conveys a measurement made up of both qualitative and quantitative data, collected by Big Tree’s trained and certified team of professional cannabis graders. In short, the COG can be likened to a cannabis report card compiled by trusted, third party graders. The COG categorizes the product by its type (environment, product and process) and includes photos, lab results and appraisal values. The COG lists and scores the product’s qualitative data (smell, color, structure and trichomes) and also its defects, if any.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Certificate of Grade is comprised of a multitude of data on the plant material, including the 100-point scale grading score assigned by Big Tree’s trained fieldmen. To obtain this score, Graders conduct a meticulous in person visual inspection, analyzing a product’s attributes in various categories before giving them a final overall score. The product’s final grade is then presented alongside the lab results and other product data to present a full picture of the product’s quality and condition. The Certificate of Grade presents --
This is the visual inspection that assesses the product’s structure, trichome, color and aroma, as well as a defects analysis. This is responsible for the product’s final grading score.
PRODUCT CATEGORY CLASSIFICATION
This classification is determined based on the environment, process and product. This provides over 125 specific product categories in plant material alone.
This is the gathering of known and/or unknown data points. Quantitative analysis will report if data is missing, or compile it if available. Such data looks like --
Where the product was produced
How the product was trimmed
Certificate of Analysis
Heavy metal tests
WHAT DOES IT REVEAL?
The Certificate of Grade is an incredibly valuable tool. Not only does it provide essential data to buyers, suppliers and consumers, but it also helps to determine the product’s fair market value. By combining all the available information on category classification and qualitative and quantitative data, the appraisal range is able to be determined by the transaction history of a specific product type and grade.
When suppliers and growers use Big Tree’s services routinely, having a grader come out in regular intervals (weekly, monthly, quarterly), they are able to detect the consistency of their own product. By having a qualified grader come to their farm to compare and contrast that same product or strain on a regular basis, the growers and suppliers can see whether their product is changing over time — and ultimately figure out why.
The COG will allow a grower to be able to identify any potential problems within their grow by evaluating their product compared to their past harvests. The grade translates the product’s quality, and repeated grading over time provides growers with a crucial quality control mechanism.
Routine cannabis grading also provides an appraisal of their product. While a one time grade tells them how that specific product scores in that unique snapshot of time, regular grading evaluates a bigger sample size, painting a bigger picture of the overall quality of the cannabis. Being able to determine all of this information keeps growers informed about the on goings of the cannabis market outside of their own farm, allowing them to confidently price their product and receive fair market prices.
The COG also benefits buyers, allowing them insight and data on any product’s score and to know exactly what it is that they’re purchasing without having to see it themselves. Buyers no longer have to visit every farm for each buy, can have peace of mind when ordering product, and build trust with suppliers around their material, creating a strong and lasting business relationship.
The COG provides trust and transparency between suppliers and buyers in the form of objective third-party verification.
WHY IS IT SO VALUABLE?
With Big Tree’s grading standard, suppliers and buyers are able to more easily identify an accurate fair market price based on third-party analysis according to actual transactional market data. By comparing a product’s type and its grade with fluctuating supply and demand data, suppliers and buyers can educate themselves with information regarding the pricing that similar products are being bought and sold for, helping to establish a baseline rate for specific product.
With a Certificate of Grade, cannabis becomes legitimized like any other commodity. The COG proves the quality and status of cannabis throughout its supply chain with a bonafide pedigree — instead of taking only the word of the grower. The COG makes the process of buying, selling and consuming cannabis more honest, streamlined and fair, promoting transparency and trust throughout the supply chain. Simply put: The Certificate of Grade is good for business, period.
Allison Cohn loves gold spray paint and nonsense. She also has a very difficult time sitting still and keeping quiet. She can often be found dancing like a fool when she isn’t hiding out in her mountain lair or gallivanting around the globe.