Establishing Standards The popularity of concentrates is on the rise, and so are the regulatory standards of the industry

The market of medical cannabis oils, waxes and concentrates is developing and maturing in Michigan. It seems that nationwide, concentrates continue to be a major growth area for the cannabis industry. Sales of those products are up over 25 percent in some states, and Michigan is no different. Vape pens continue to see increased availability and use, partly due to the convenience and discretion provided. Leaky cartridges have become the rare exception, and consumers are offered more choices in brands, varieties, while containing terpenes and other flavor additives.

Since many cannabis concentrates are inhaled, dosage can easily be regulated, or titrated, by the consumer contemporaneous with use. Other concentrates that are ingested can vary greatly in dosage, causing both overdosing and underdosing problems. One great benefit of moving to a market of tested products is the increased ability to achieve a proper dose, and avoiding the problems that can occur when that does not happen. (It is hard to know the effect of a standard 10mg dose of THCA until testing standards have been implemented.)

In spite of the continuing placement of cannabis in Schedule I, the world has moved on to begin to establish standards by which products can be compared. Without standards, people cannot be assured of consistency or reliability of labeling statements.

While the government continues to avoid any responsible manner of policy change in regard to cannabis, private industry, thankfully, has moved on. Consumers want clean, reliable products. Organic produce continues to increase in demand, and cannabis is no exception.

In early June, the Organic Cannabis Association merged with fellow nonprofit, the Ethical Cannabis Alliance. The result was the formation of the Cannabis Certification Council, which hopes to independently certify cannabis products as “organically grown” and “fairly produced.” Outside of the organic certification, other groups are focusing on determining and implementing generally accepted procedures throughout the cannabis industry.

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses was also recently formed to develop consistent national standards and to establish generally accepted responsible business practices, including compliance, transparency and accountability. The American Society for Testing and Materials (a mainstream organization with members from more than 140 countries) agreed to create technical standards for the production and sale of cannabis. The American Herbal Products Association and the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards are participating in developing these standards. Uniform standards set forth by organizations such as these will protect the health and safety of consumers, and also be great for businesses. Once regulations are set, businesses will be able to ensure that consumers are purchasing a product that has properly been produced, tested, packaged and labeled as required by law.

Under Michigan law, if the concentrate is solid material, a qualifying patient may possess 16 ounces of that material in place of each ounce of dried leaves and flowers allowed to possess (2.5 per person). However, if that concentrate is a liquid, a patient may possess 36 fluid ounces for each ounce of dried leaves and flowers allowed.

Extracts are categorized as infused products, and the law was amended to require that they be labeled and carried in a case in your trunk. Violation of the labeling requirement is a civil infraction, but violation of the requirement to carry in a case in the trunk is a misdemeanor.

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