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New UL Standard Provides Equipment Safety Certification for the Cannabis Extraction and Processing Industry

Relying on peer review reports to determine code compliance for cannabis extraction and processing is no longer the only tool in a code authorities repertoire.

An outside view looking in on a cannabis farm.

December 4, 2020

Authored by: Edgar Wolff-Klammer and Jerilyn Merrill 

Safety is at the core of UL’s mission.  By translating technical knowledge into actionable value-added global services, UL is able to help the emerging legal cannabis industry evolve safely.  This dynamic industry has seen rapid growth, which until recently has outpaced the development of model code requirements and safety standards to help ensure the safe operation of cannabis extraction and processing facilities. 

The cannabis plant oil extraction process can create hazardous conditions due to the use of flammable solvents, including hydrocarbons, released during processing.  Testing and certification to  ANSI/CAN/UL/ULC 1389, Standard for Plant Oil Extraction Equipment for Installation and Use in Ordinary (Unclassified) Locations and Hazardous (Classified) Locations, enables manufacturers to design and build new processing equipment according to a consistent set of requirements and to avoid delays in acceptance by code authorities and commissioning of extraction facilities. ANSI/CAN/UL/ULC 1389 was published as a bi-national standard for the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 25, 2019, and is used for the basis of the UL certification program for extraction equipment.  

Prior to the launch of the UL certification program, code authorities often relied on a review and report from a professional engineer (PE), also known as a peer review report, to determine compliance with model codes. Certification programs by third-party organizations provide a standardized and consistent evaluation of installations and processes.  These certification programs are based on published, nationally recognized standards for safety and the adopted  model fire and building codes, thereby helping code authorities ensure safety and code compliance. 

The 2021 installation codes –  NFPA 1 Fire Code, Chapter 38 and the International Fire Code (IFC), Chapter 39 – will reference ANSI/CAN/UL/ULC 1389. With this, jurisdictions can adopt the most current editions of NFPA 1 or the IFC and utilize their local code and the UL certification program to expedite the building permit and approval process for legal cannabis processing and extraction facilities.  

All UL Certified plant oil extraction equipment models can be found in UL’s certification database by visiting Product iQTM database and then entering a manufacturer’s name or searching ‘cannabis’. The most up-to-date listing for plant oil extractor booth manufacturers whose products are UL certified to ANSI/CAN/UL/ULC 1389 can always be found in this database. 

To learn more about UL’s safety testing and certification for hazardous locations, visit UL.com/HazLoc. To inquire about UL testing and certification specifically in accordance with ANSI/CAN/UL/ULC 1389 certification, please contact [email protected]

Grow lights shine on row upon row of plants being cultivated in a giant warehouse.

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