Medical Cannabis advocates in Washington are eagerly
awaiting the final say on extract laws. The newest proposed guidelines laid out
by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) are out. Complete
prohibition of extracts like some had feared, doesn’t seem to be in the future.
It’s worth noting that the regulations set forth by the
WSLCB apply to only recreational production of cannabis. So while the standards
suggested may seem strict, hopefully laws regarding medical cannabis will take
the many other factors surrounding medical into consideration. Throughout the
entire I-502 regulatory process, Washington State has appeared to have the
utmost concern for liability. These proposed regulations are no different.
The main push in regulation, seems to be for safety. The
proposed regulations come in the form of regulated operational procedures.
Following the increase in explosions due to improper Butane Hash Oil
manufacturing seen in Colorado, uniform safety procedures for extract
production seems practical.
The push for safety is evident in the documents’ call for a
standard operational procedure for extract production.
“Processors creating cannabis extracts must develop standard
operating procedures, good manufacturing practices, and a training plan prior
to producing extracts for the marketplace,” according to the 2014 version of
the proposed I-502 rules set forth by the WSLCB.
“Any person using solvents or gases in a closed looped
system to create cannabis extracts must be fully trained on how to use the
system, have direct access to applicable material safety data sheets and handle
and store solvents and gases safely,” the document concludes.
Acceptable methods of extract production include, heat,
screens, steam, distillation, ice water and a number of approved solvents. The
proposed allowed solvents are food-grade ethanol, glycerine and propylene
glycol. Kief, bubble hash, hashish, and nearly all forms of edibles are allowed
in the recommended guidelines.
Unfortunately, the strict push for regulations regarding
operational procedures and solvent use, means BHO will likely be deemed
illegal, at least for recreational use. With butane not on the list of approved
solvents, the production of BHO would have to cease according to these
regulations. This is likely due both to the danger associated with BHO
manufacturing, and the disputes regarding its safety as a consumable product.
Considering the state’s strict liquor laws, work safety
laws, smoking laws and general consumer safety laws, these recommendations come
as no surprise. While these regulations make sense for recreational extract
production, hopefully they won’t extend to medical. Due to the unmatched
cannabisency of BHO, some medical patients rely on it to supply the medicine
The proposed regulations in question are just that,
proposed. So until the final laws are set in place, processors won’t know exactly
what to expect. Whether they apply to recreational, medical or both, remains to
be seen. Though these regulations may not appeal to many cannabis and extract
producers, they are a step up from the all out ban some proponents feared.