Marijuana Standardization Proposals Are Being Developed Right Now

A conference has recently taken place between state and federal administrators. Those involved spoke on the plan to pass legislation to establish standards for marijuana products. Hopefully, this will be used later down the line and will be formally adopted into a federal handbook. Two committees of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) had cannabis-related items on the agenda. Either of the 2 has the chance to be enacted at a subsequent meeting this summer. If passed the legislation would be incorporated into federal guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

NCWM’s Laws and Regulations Committee discussed propositions to establish a definition for cannabis and products that contain cannabis. These laws would develop a policy for the water activity range for marijuana. As well as standardize packaging and labeling conditions. Those first two things did move onwards and have achieved voting status. What this means is the NCWM members will have the chance to adopt them into the NIST handbook. This would possibly happen when they convene again in July.

The latest bill did not pass and was not able to reach voting status. This bill showed concern with creating a national standard for the weight of packages that contain cannabis. Moving into the future it’s possible this bill can be reconsidered. NCWM’s Specifications and Tolerances Committee, meanwhile, presented a proposal. This proposal is to develop “scale suitability requirements” for the direct sale of bulk marijuana to dispensaries in legal states. That one is still being worked on.

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“As states legalize sales of cannabis in its various forms, the need has arisen for uniform standards for scale suitability,” the justification section of that proposal says. “Uniform requirements from one state to the next will strengthen each jurisdiction’s ability to effectively regulate the industry in a fair and equitable manner. Uniform standards also provide industry with expectations regardless of the jurisdiction, reducing potential conflict or confusion.”

The objective of this week’s interim conference was to evaluate the proposals. As well as take comments from stakeholders and determine whether to advance them to a vote. A vote would be done at NCWM’s annual meeting in July.

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“These regulations are much needed,” Matthew Curran, food safety director of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services who participated in the conference, told Marijuana Moment. The proposals “have the potential to become the first national standard—not federal standards—but national standards through a national consensus organization that virtually every state taps into.”

“When you have national standards, it allows for harmony across state lines,” he said. “Whereas without those, each state can do their own thing and so you end up with potentially 50 boutique markets, which makes it really hard to regulate, really hard for industry to grow.”

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Through its Office of Weights and Measures, NIST, has provided examinations of the NCWM proposals. Yet it does not play a voting position in whether the bills spoken about at the conference are adopted.

In comments submitted ahead of this week’s conference, Florida officials said t that it “discovered several inaccuracies in [the NIST] analysis.” Also that their “recommendations fall short in the areas of consumer protection, marketplace equality, and regulatory responsibility.”

It’s not that NIST is against standardizing these marijuana policies. However, it’s rather the agency lacks the knowledge that regulators overseeing state marijuana programs have developed over years.

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“This was a chance to have the first harmonizing national standard,” Charlie Rutherford, co-chair of the NCWM cannabis task force, told a cannabis media outlet.

“I really applaud the work that they’ve done in getting these important items to the point that we are potentially months away from something that can make the compliance ability of operators, especially multi-state operators, much easier by harmonizing at least a few of the regulations.”

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