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ASTM D37 Cannabis Committee Looks to Expand its Reach in 2018

by Mike May
Published: Feb 21, 2018   
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In 2017, ASTM International established its Committee D37 on Cannabis. Since the committee’s first meeting in Toronto in June 2017, it “has been involved in creating a standards roadmap, and becoming educated on the ASTM process,” says Robert Morgan—Director, Technical Committee Operations at ASTM International, an organization that produces standards for industries around the world.

This committee includes 350 members from the cannabis community, including growers, laboratory specialists, state regulators, academics and consumers. Currently, the committee includes members from eight countries. According to Morgan, committee members have expressed “their desire to continue with global outreach, bringing in stakeholders from Europe and Asia, joining the strong representation from Canada and the Unites States.”

Reviewing cannabis testing standards 

In New Orleans in January 2018, Committee D37 met for a second time. This meeting continued the efforts of the first, “but was also focused on reviewing work that task groups had been engaged with in between,” Morgan explains. “Much of the standards development work takes place in between their formal January and June meetings.”

In discussing the evolution of this committee’s meetings, Morgan says, “Subcommittee work has become more focused, and members are active in drafting standards.” He adds, “The members and officers have increased their understanding of what is required to develop a voluntary consensus standard.”

When asked what issues remain unresolved for Committee D37, Morgan says, “In an ASTM Technical, the work is never completed. Standards will be proposed—some will make it through the process and others will not.” Even after a standard is approved, it must be kept up to date. “So, there will, most likely, always be unresolved issues as the committee stakeholders engage in shaping the technical content of the standards and achieving consensus,” Morgan notes.

Next steps for ASTM D37 laid out 

Nonetheless, the January meeting generated some near-future objectives. “The Terminology Subcommittee held a lively discussion and a proposal for a terminology standard that will be balloted this spring,” Morgan says. Moreover, each subcommittee left the meeting with a least one registered work item—including standard practices for the cultivation of medical grade cannabis, rapid analysis of E. coli in cannabis and using solvent-based cannabis-extraction equipment.

As Morgan adds, “The committee leadership is also interested in proactive outreach, informing the cannabis industry about D37’s activity and encouraging them to take part in shaping the content of standards that may impact their business.” No time could be better for that than now, as the industry starts to grow.


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