As increasing numbers of states join the march towards medical cannabis – and in some cases even recreational cannabis, both good and bad issues are coming to light says Yahoo Style. For many, one of the biggest advantages legalization of cannabis would bring would be a massive cost saving as the war on drugs moves to target other, more dangerous substances. And of course, less people would end up in prisons for marijuana offences, thereby reducing pressure on the overburdened prison system.
Regulation is a challenge
As complete prohibition gives way to greater tolerance, regulatory issues rear their heads. How should permits be issued? How will canna business be zoned? What rules should be in place for packaging? And most crucially of all, how should medical cannabis be produced and processed?
California is grappling these issues with the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act striving to lay the ground rules. AB21 provides further guidance, allowing cities to draft their own regulations, or treat dispensaries as they would any other business.
However, of all these complicated regulations, the ones governing quality control and traceability are among the most interesting. California seeks to track medical cannabis all way from seed to the consumer, covering every single link in the supply chain. To achieve this, they’ll need some pretty sophisticated systems, perhaps something similar to the one used by Washington State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board.
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Is traceability on its own sufficient?
On its own, traceability probably isn’t enough, but it’s a significant step forward for an industry seeking respectability and trust. And when the temptation to use contaminating pesticides or toxic solvents is great, producers will live with the awareness that it could come back to bite them.
Ultimately, it would be good to see very specific controls and measures in place. After all, medical cannabis is medicine. That means you have to know what’s in it. Testing for pesticide residues, mycotoxins and other contaminants should be mandatory and should be conducted on every batch of medical cannabis produced. Patients also need to know the cannabinoid composition and concentration of medical cannabis. Without this information they can’t even try to be scientific in calculating their intake.
Safe medical cannabis is a must
In a recent unofficial consumer safety test conducted by Oregon Live, reporters submitted 10 medical cannabis oil products for laboratory testing. The results were disturbing – 8 of the 10 oils were red-flagged as containing potentially harmful residues. In interviews with labs, some labs claimed that producers were using their logo on products they had never tested.
This report underlines the need for a specific set of standards and third party enforcement that ensures they’re being adhered to. Although there are plenty of ‘good guys’ in the medical cannabis industry, there are also those who are just in it for the money, and whose product safety is questionable.
Have you ever wondered how your medical cannabis oil is being produced? Are you able to obtain adequate proof of product safety? Do you think there should be more regulation, or less?