By Garrett Rudolph
When I-502 was approved by Washington voters in the fall of 2012, Chuck Olivier began to see a need for a cannabis industry-focused scale company.
“I joked about this with friends enough, and they called me out enough, to where I dove in and created the Dimebag Scale Company,” Olivier said.
The Dimebag Scale Company (www.dimebagscale.com) is a service company that also sells scales; it is not a scale dealer that offers service, Olivier said.
Every scale used for commerce in Washington — regardless of whether it’s weighing steaks or weighing marijuana — needs to be National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) approved and have a security seal applied so the merchant can’t “cheat the scale.”
“Let’s say you go to a grocery store to get some meat at the deli counter,” Olivier said. “They’re going to weigh that product on a price computing scale that is NTEP approved and sealed to make sure that it’s accurate. I saw a need for a commercial scale company for the cannabis business.”
In the case of 502-licensed producers and processors, Olivier said there are two basic scales companies will need: a bench scale for 5- and 15-pound lots for producers dealing in bulk, and a smaller scale for processors that looks more like a pharmaceutical scale and measures down to tenths of a gram.
In order for scales to be considered “legal for trade,” they need to measure down to .1 grams.
However, Olivier recommends processors invest in scales that read out to .01 grams.
“That extra digit is going to mean huge numbers after what we hope are many thousands of transactions,” he said. “If your scale only has .1 gram resolution, it’s only accurate to .1 gram either way.”
For example, the potential slop from 10,000 one-gram packages on a scale with .1 gram resolution could be as much as 1,000 grams. This also highlights the need for scales to be checked for accuracy, he said.
Higher-quality scales that are properly serviced and certified are just part of the transition from the black market or unregulated medical market to the legalized, highly-regulated, commercial cannabis market.
“You go from the gram scale at the head shop to a professional cannabis producing and processing industry. Many dispensaries today use the same pocket scales you can buy at the head shop, and they do business over those scales,” Olivier said. “The new professional industry needs a far better instrument than that.
“Weights and measures regulations are already in place for every industry in Washington. It’s important that our new industry — the legal cannabis industry in Washington — complies with existing standards of commerce.”
Although Dimebag Scale Company does sell scales, Olivier acknowledges people can buy scales cheaper online.
Regardless of where business owners buy their scales, “it’s critical that you have a scale company come out and check the scale you’re using,” Olivier said. “Are you sure it’s going to be accurate out of the box? How will you know? People assume it’s accurate out of the box. There’s only one way to know for sure.”
Olivier also offers his expertise to business owners to ensure they’re looking at the right scale for their needs.
Although Dimebag Scale Company is based out of Seattle, Olivier said he will service or sell scales to customers throughout the state. He recommends customers in Eastern Washington join together to get several scales inspected at one time to spread the cost.