AHPA issues recommendations on cannabis regulation

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cannabis

Medical marijuana is grown in small lots under tightly controlled conditions. Test cultivation of industrial hemp (above) has started in Kentucky and Colorado.
Medical marijuana is grown in small lots under tightly controlled conditions. Test cultivation of industrial hemp (above) has started in Kentucky and Colorado.
The American Herbal Products Association continues to help lead the conversation about cannabis with the issuance of recommendations to regulators on the best practices for production and consumption of the botanical.

Interest in cannabis has ramped up significantly in recent years with the passage of medical marijuana laws in 23 states and the District of Columbia, recreational use approvals in both Colorado and Washington and wide-scale approval of industrial hemp cultivation gaining momentum​.  This led to a call for help from regulators, said Jane Wilson, AHPA’s director of program development.

“There were a number of regulatory bodies that were aware we have a cannabis committee and they wanted these materials,” ​Wilson told NutraIngredients-USA.

Draft regulations

The recommendations are in the form of draft regulations​ and spell out best practices on a variety of topics, including the four operational stages of cannabis production and distribution:

  1. Cultivation and processing operations addresses cultivation practices, facility requirements, management of water resources, recordkeeping, and information disclosure. It also establishes best practices for operations that provide post-harvest processing of cannabis, for distribution to dispensing operations, or to manufacturing operations for the production of cannabis-derived products.
  2. Manufacturing and related operations is generally modeled after federal current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) for foods and dietary supplements, and focus on personnel, product acquisition, physical plant and grounds, relevant controls, recordkeeping, and other factors that contribute to best practices in these operational settings.
  3. Laboratory operations is a complement to existing good laboratory practices, these recommendations focus on the personnel, security, sample handling and disposal, and data management and reporting activities that may be unique to laboratories analyzing cannabis samples.
  4. Dispensing operations focuses on personnel, security, product acquisition, record keeping, customer policies, and other matters that can contribute to best practice in the dispensary setting.

Possible supplement applications

AHPA’s recommendations pertain specifically to medical marijuana operations.  But interest in possible non medical uses of the botanical has swelled since the passage of recreational use referendums in Colorado and Washington.  In particular, companies have been investigating the use of cannabidiol, a non-narcotic fraction of cannabis sativa​, as use as a possible supplement ingredient. Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been claimed to have anti seizure and pain relieving properties among other possible effects. The issue of whether recreational use approvals mean a CBD-based supplement would also be legal remains up in the air.

“We have not established a specifc postion on that. We have had inquiries and we have referred people to their own legal counsel,”​ Byrne said.

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