Guide to scales for the cannabis industry in Alberta

Since cannabis was legalized in Alberta in 2018, retailers and dispensaries have been opening throughout the province. Weigh scales and precision balances are essential and legally required tools in marijuana production and sales. Here’s what you need to know about scales in Alberta’s cannabis industry.

Types of scales in the cannabis industry

Two common types of scales in the cannabis industry are weigh scales and precision balances. Scales traditionally measure weight, and balances measure mass. However, today’s technology has blurred the lines between the two.

Nevertheless, a precision balance is suited for measuring tiny amounts and is an excellent tool in a laboratory. You can use a balance to get precise readings on samples of cannabis flower, extracts and solvent concentrations.

Commercial scales have higher capacities for weighing large amounts of bulk flower and trim before drying and decarboxylation. Dispensaries and retailers also use price-computing weigh scales to measure products at the point of sale.

Capacity versus readability

When choosing a scale for your cannabis business, consider capacity and readability.

  • Capacity is the maximum weight the scale can handle at once. You can damage the internal load cells if you exceed the scale’s capacity. Purchase a scale with a higher capacity than the maximum weight you’ll need to measure.

  • Readability is the smallest change in weight or mass a scale can display. Higher readability means higher accuracy in measuring smaller amounts. A scale with higher capacity typically has lower readability.

Cannabis scale classification

Scales are designated a class number to indicate capacity and readability. The higher the class, the higher the capacity. However, scales with a higher class number have lower readability and are less accurate.

  • Class I is high-precision weighing for testing cannabis samples in labs.

  • Class II is also suited for lab and dispensary applications with high readability and low capacity.

  • Class III is for commercial and industrial applications that require higher capacity.

  • Class IV is used in highway weigh-stations to ensure transport vehicles travel within legal weight limits.

Legal for trade

Any business selling products to the public by weight must use a scale deemed legal for trade by Measurement Canada. This designation ensures the accuracy and integrity of trade measurement in Canada through inspections and calibrations. If your scale isn’t legal for trade, you risk losing your cannabis licence.

Precision scale sales and service in Calgary

At Accurate/Western Scale Co. Ltd., you can find a high-quality, dependable precision scale or balance for use in your cannabis business. We’re certified by Measurement Canada to offer legal-for-trade products and services to customers in Calgary and throughout Alberta. Contact us today to learn more about our commercial scales.

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