Legal marijuana is in its earliest days, and the groundwork is still being laid. Laws are still being written, voters polled and businesses licensed. But even at the outset it is clear that marijuana legalization could benefit from a few rules.
Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that users want rules that ensure their weed is clean, strong and safe for human consumption.
Cannabis has been on the black market in the United States for more than 75 years, and during that time, few serious attempts were made to gauge the quality of the product, aside from occasional claims by the government regarding its supposed potency.
With that in mind, a nationwide patients’ advocacy group has launched a new program to test and certify the reliability and quality of medical marijuana. The group, Americans for Safe Access, based in Washington, D.C., has started what it calls Patient Focused Certification, or PFC.
The PFC is designed explicitly for medical weed, but the methods of certifying marijuana quality will likely carry benefits for the recreational market as well.
Marijuana is now legal for all adults in two states, Colorado and Washington, while medical pot is allowed in 19 others (the most recent, New York, was announced in early January).
Cannabis fever is only expected to spread, with Alaska likely to legalize in August and California considered a strong bet for 2016, if it does not occur this November. Other states could join them as well.
That tidal wave will make quality control much more important to the marijuana industry. There are already 1 million qualified medical pot patients nationwide, according to Americans for Safe Access – who knows what demand the recreational market may add.
Local and state governments are already closely involved in regulating and taxing the industry. States that have legalized marijuana expect to reap a major tax windfall. And regulations are part of an unwritten agreement with federal officials.
Pot is illegal under federal law. But last summer, the Obama administration announced it wouldn’t interfere with state-sanctioned weed as long as states and businesses enforced several federal priorities, such as keeping cartels and gangs out of the marijuana trade.
Many of the regulations enforced by state and local governments are aimed at keeping this truce.
Certification of cannabis quality fits into that scheme. The Americans for Safe Access methods aren’t the first to rate the quality of medical marijuana. But the industry lacks a national and consistent quality control framework, something the group is trying to provide.
The certification process is reviewed by a panel of doctors, scientists and regulatory and industry experts. It’s the only third-party, nonprofit certification in the industry based on new standards from the American Herbal Pharmacopeia and the American Herbal Products Association.
Americans for Safe Access could be the seal of approval for medical marijuana.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:
Budding Industry for Labs Testing Marijuana, December 27, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Members Of Congress send Letter to California Attorney General: Back Off Marijuana Prosecutions , December 24, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog