Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Is the ACS ready for a Cannabis Chemistry division?

This is a petition to form a professional division within the membership of the American Chemical Society. The title of division shall be Cannabis Chemists. 
One might think that this is too specific of a designation for a separate professional division. I would however argue that it is a rapidly expanding profession and that we face many issues specific to the industry. As the medical marijuana and recreational cannabis industry grows it promises to present more and more jobs for chemists in quality control and quality assurance positions. 
The objectives of this division shall be to provide networking opportunities, mentoring relationships, and updates on technology, industry and public policy. The division will also provide support for individuals new to the field in the form of training and scholarship. Lastly, the division shall provide a platform for cannabis professionals to develop standards and practices in a field where self-regulation is essential for the success of a venture and of the industry. 
Individuals who would be interested in this division may be in the cannabis industry as analytical chemists, water chemists, food chemists, agro chemists, extraction chemists, formulation chemists, natural products chemists, or pharmaceutical chemists. 
It is wise and urgent to develop this professional division because there is an emerging industry that is desperate for the support this division can provide. Now more than 25 companies exist for the sole purpose of analyzing cannabis for producers, vendors and consumers. 
It is essential for the growth of the cannabis analysis industry and the quality of medicines provided, that young professionals be made aware of the legitimate and lucrative opportunities in this field.
I don't know what to think of this. The author of the petition appears to be Ezra Pryor, who seems to be a member of the ACS (on his LinkedIn profile, anyway.)

It'd be really interesting, incidentally, to know what the process for forming a new division is... (don't you have to be a committee, first? I forget.) Anyway, I agree with Mr. Pryor's suggestion that this is a growing field and that there's likely interest amongst ACS membership. This will be really interesting to see if it grows... (if you'll pardon the pun.) 


  1. I suppose you could call this "High Office"

  2. What, does every natural product want its own technical division too? I call for a Division of Cocaine.

  3. There isn't a division of ethanol or brewing last I checked. I would be wary of this for a variety of reasons- membership would probably be a red flag for the government and employers, the hazy regulatory environment, and the still limited number of people likely to sign up.
    I am curious what other ideas people would come up with for new divisions. Or is there a division that ought to be rolled into another division? Agrochemicals and Agriculture and Food Chem for example?

  4. Hmmm... Is it a coincidence that the upcoming ACS National Meeting is being held in Denver, CO? I think pot (I mean) not.

  5. Betteridge's law of headlines says....

  6. To people who don't live in Colorado or Washington, this likely seems like a shady business but I think it's a valid thing to at least consider that A) this field if growing and expanding rapidly B) It's not going away anytime soon, and C) There is hardly anything shady or disreputable about this sort of business. As a Colorado resident I can say the number of small start-up companies involving the marijuana business is staggering, and I'm not just referring to the shops on the corner selling this stuff. There are lots of positions for organic and analytical chemists in the area to join research and development labs in the marijuana business. The government isn't going around breaking into these labs and arresting all the scientists. The federal government has pretty much acknowledged that they are not going to fight what is going on in the individual states where marijuana has been legalized unless it deals with large scale trafficking and bigger picture drug-related organized crime. Maybe it doesn't need it's own division but it certainly shouldn't be brushed aside as some shady and dishonorable emerging field of chemistry. The Carreira lab published a paper on this subject just last week... http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201408380/pdf

  7. Sounds like a great idea to me! I got in touch with Ezra and signed the petition myself.
    If any one is interested, here is the link he sent me.

  8. The International Cannabinoid Research Society is a scientific association with more than 500 international Ph.D. members, all active researchers in the fields of endogenous, plant-derived and synthetic cannabinoids and related bioactive lipids.

    The Science of the cannabinoids is an outstanding field of investigation for young and old researchers alike. We welcome the ACS community to get involved!

  9. In a 10.14 post focusing on the possibility of an Cannabis Chemistry division within the ACS, the author wrote the following: “ It'd be really interesting, incidentally, to know what the process for forming a new division is...”

    Here is the (short-hand) process for establishing a division within the American Chemical Society:

    1. Collect 50 signatures from ACS members who support the proposed division. The petition with the signatures must include the name of the division, its stated objects, the field of Society interest to be stimulated by the new division, and rationale as to why the division ought to be created.
    2. The petition is sent to the ACS Executive Director and CEO who reviews it for the necessary requirements. If all is in order, the Executive Director/CEO sends it to the Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC) for consideration and presentation to ACS Council with a recommendation for action.
    3. If the Council approves the new division, DAC works with division representatives to organize and operate as a probationary division, a period that can’t exceed three years.
    4. At some point during that three-year probationary period, the Council may approve formation of the proposed division.

    There are other factors at play in this process, but this gives you a general idea of how the process works.

    1. Hey, JCK, thanks for adding your expertise on this issue. (Do you have a link for this?)

    2. I suppose the real issue here is that CJ needs to sit down and read the ACS constitution. Um, I think I need to mow my lawn.

  10. https://mobile.twitter.com/Cannabis_Chem/status/576110013330001920/photos
    join us at this months national meeting in Denver.