Cannabis Laboratory Testing: A Changing Regulatory Landscape
Michelle Bradac, Senior Accreditation Officer, A2LA speaking at The Science of Cannabis 2017 Virtual Event.
Nearly all states where cannabis has been legalized for either medical and/ or recreational use there are accompanying regulatory requirements for ensuring that these label claims and product safety are met. However, unlike most industries dealing with foods, medicines and consumed products which are regulated and controlled by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cannabis presents the unique challenge because of a lack of regulatory consistency in testing requirements. We will discuss the changing landscape of the state regulations regarding testing requirements and the associated oversight of those activities and how the adoption of ISO/IEC 17025 can create a baseline of consistency, as well as the benefits of this approach to the state, growers, and consumers. This approach allows the state to retain oversight and responsibility for the ultimate decision on acceptance and licensing while alleviating the resources needed to perform that oversight activity. We will also discuss the differences between states regarding sampling activities and the challenges laboratories face regarding the proficiency of the tests/methods performed. The overarching goal of regulating cannabis testing is being able to produce scientifically acceptable, legally defensible testing results and ensuring the labeling claims are appropriate to ensure the safety of the consumer. Accreditation can provide a consistent basis for a comparison of what constitutes a competent laboratory.