Hop on the Self-Regulation Bandwagon – Quick!
Is it really important to know exactly what is in a product, particularly a cannabis or hemp-based product? A rhetorical question for sure, but one that needs a resounding answer – YES! What are the precise levels of THC, CBD, terpenes or another active component in my product? What percentage of pesticides, heavy metals or other contaminants exist? Is my labeling accurate? All relevant questions and ones that demand accurate answers. With consumer demand on the rise for cannabis products, there are all too tempting monetary incentives for businesses to cut corners and rush products to market. However, the gold rush brings with it the associated risks that could harm consumers and ultimately devastate the market.
What happened last January when Remedy Review tested 29 products against label claims casts a shadow on the industry. If you recall, Remedy Review tested each of the products for cannabinoid content, terpenes, heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents, and microbiological contaminants. Cannabinoid tests were used to measure label accuracy, as a tested concentration within ten percent of the label was deemed accurate. Four of those products failed the test, and as a result, the wellness advocacy group determined there was need for independent monitoring and testing.
As more states come on board with legalized cannabis, it is inevitable that federal regulations will follow. But until then, it is critical that the cannabis industry demonstrates its ability to self-regulate through the adoption of comprehensive, voluntary standards in all facets of processing, from agriculture to manufacturing to labeling. Adoption and adherence to standards developed by the industry stakeholders themselves will go a long way towards gaining the trust of consumers, regulators and financial institutions.
Whether testing is performed in-house or via 3rd party organizations, its clear that companies need to make accurate testing a crucial element of the process, particularly before federal guidance and more regulations come into play. By self-regulating now and adhering to their own rules, the industry can serve to shape the regulatory landscape of the future and take some control of their own destinies.
While I personally do not endorse any particular products or process, I strongly encourage self-regulating process control and utilization of the sophisticated analytical tools needed to test safety and efficacy until there are more global regulatory standards in place.