America's state-legal cannabis industry may be incredibly lucrative, but it is far from perfect. Barely more than a decade old, the sector is known for its patchwork laws and lack of standardization. For quite a while, industry stakeholders and reform activists have argued for the creation of standard rules and procedures. This would make interstate trade possible and allow the industry to really grow. Last week, local, state and federal officials met to discuss proposals that could end up in a federal handbook for cannabis regulation.
Cannabis was on the agenda for two National Conference on Weights and Measures ("NCWM") committees this past week. If the cannabis-related items that were raised during these meetings are approved in subsequent meetings, they will most likely be incorporated into the National Institute of Standards and Technology's ("NIST") federal guidance. A proposal from the Laws and Regulations Committee would establish a standard definition for cannabis and cannabis-infused products, standard requirements for packaging and labeling, and a definition for the water activity range of cannabis.
The proposals for the definition of cannabis and cannabis-infused products as well as the water activity range moved forward and can be adopted into the NIST handbook in July when the committee reconvenes. However, the proposal for the creation of a national standard of weighing marijuana-containing packages didn’t advance and won't be eligible for addition into the NIST handbook. It will be up for discussion in the future and will most likely be reworked.
The Specifications and Tolerances Committee unveiled a proposal that would create "scale suitability requirements" for selling bulk cannabis to dispensaries in legal states directly. This proposal didn't advance, and committee members are still working on it.
Text from the proposal states that the need for uniform standards for scale suitability has increased significantly as more states have legalized various forms of cannabis. Uniform requirements across different states will make it much easier for each jurisdiction to regulate their cannabis sector in a "fair and equitable manner," the proposal claims.
Matthew Curran, food safety director at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, says the country's state-legal cannabis sector needs standards regulations. The proposals unveiled at the meeting can potentially become the "first national standards" through a national consensus organization with a connection to every state, he says. Standard regulations will provide harmony across state lines, streamline regulation and give sector players such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. NUGS room to grow.
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