A common complaint made by opponents of medical marijuana is that the industry lacks standardization. They say dosage is imprecise, quality varies from plant to plant, safety regulations are insufficient and measurements are ineffective.
In response to the criticisms, the American Herbal Products Association released its long awaited Medical Marijuana Manufacturing Guidelines on July 22, 2014. The guidelines are meant to serve as a compendium for industry standards, providing regulatory recommendations for all aspects of the medical marijuana business, from seed to sale.
In a press release, Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans For Safe Access, praised the standards set forth by the report. “Although medical marijuana is one of the safest medicines used today, it’s important for patients to have industry standards that ensure the highest product quality and reliability,” Sherer said.
Sherer went on to say that the guidelines set forth by the AHPA would serve as “a blueprint for product recalls,” referencing the recall of At Home Baked, an edibles company in Denver that was forced to recall its product due to handling procedures. Elaborating on her previous point, Sherer said that the guidelines set forth “establishes sound manufacturing procedures that will help avoid such recalls in the future.”
The unveiling of the new industry recommendations comes about at the same time as Americans for Safe Access reveals its new nationwide program, the Patient Focused Certification Program. The Patient Focused Certification Program is co-produced by the Cannabis Training Institute, bringing a decade’s worth of cannabis cultivation experience with them.
The program builds off of the newly released industry recommendations set forth by the AHPA in conjunction with standards set forth by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. The certification process is overseen by a board of scientists, doctors and regulatory experts. Individuals and businesses that pass certification are subject to yearly audits as well as surprise inspections from time to time.
Products produced by certified businesses and individuals will carry the PFC certified seal of approval, allowing patients to make informed decisions on where they purchase their medicinal cannabis. Currently, there are only 15 businesses that carry the PFC certified seal of approval, but given time expect the number of businesses to increase.
The continued willingness of the cannabis industry to impose self-regulation is a good sign for the future of the industry. Many industries wait until the public outcry is too large to ignore before making significant changes to its business practices, but the marijuana industry has taken proactive steps to ensure quality and safety in advance. Given that the cannabis industry is still in its infancy, cannabis has shown remarkable maturity.