Leadership

Cannabis Industry Group Works to Boost Safety for "Edibles"

By / Aug 8, 2014

With edible products proving to be a popular form of marijuana consumption in states where the drug is legal, the National Cannabis Industry Association is working with industry members to ensure food-safety standards are followed.

For every three legal marijuana products sold in Colorado, two are edible.

And while a few bites of a THC-laced brownie might seem innocuous enough, the potency of marijuana “edibles” is often unclear—something New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd learned the hard way a couple of months ago.

“I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall,” she wrote in a column about her first legal high brought on by eating a chocolate bar containing pot . “As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.”

We know our industry is under a microscope, and we want to make sure cannabis product-makers continue developing the highest quality and safest products possible.

A recent report by a Brookings Institution fellow concluded that the state’s legalization plan has been “largely successful”— except in the case of edibles, which have raised concerns about mistaken consumption by children and by adults inexperienced with the products’ high potency.

With reports of illnesses and recalls, as well as articles like Dowd’s, circulating in the media, the cannabis industry is concerned about the potential for additional regulations, which are  already being considered in Colorado.

To help solve this problem, the National Cannabis Industry Association is working to inform its members by launching safety-education programs. The ServSafe Food Safety Basics course, based on a National Restaurant Association curriculum, teaches a number of basic food-safety and sanitation rules. The first educational session was held Wednesday in Denver and was facilitated by NCIA member Maureen McNamara, the founder of Cannabis Trainers.

A separate Sell-SMaRT Responsible Cannabis Vendor course will advise “budtenders” on how to sell responsibly. The program borrows techniques, such as checking ID and offering advice on responsible consumption, that have been successful for sales of  alcoholic beverages. The first session is planned for August 19 and will be led by McNamara.

“The interest in edibles and other infused products keeps growing,” NCIA Deputy Director Taylor West said in a news release. “We know our industry is under a microscope, and we want to make sure cannabis product-makers continue developing the highest quality and safest products possible.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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