Pubdate: Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Linda Givetash
Page: A8


Certification initiative to test businesses for quality control,
ethical production

Marijuana consumers are likely to have a flood of options when pot
becomes legal next summer and now a not-for-profit group is stepping
in to help determine which products to trust.

The National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education said its
CannabisWise certification will test businesses on quality and safety
guidelines, similar to the way other voluntary programs regulate
pharmacy services or fish products in Canada.

The institute's CEO, Barinder Rasode, said they've heard concerns that
Canadians are looking for clarity when it comes to buying quality
marijuana that is sourced ethically and adhering to laws from all
three levels of government.

"People want certainty and want to know how they're going to be able
to trust products on the market and companies that are entering the
space," Rasode said.

The certification program is based on 12 standards that focus on
quality control, compliance to the new laws and regulations, and the
promotion of responsible cannabis use.

Any business interested in having its product certified will have to
apply, provide the necessary documents and pay a fee.

Rasode said they haven't yet established the cost of the annual
certification. Trained inspectors will scrutinize businesses and
facilities in person before approving the credentials, she said.

The owner of the Vancouver dispensary Buddha Barn said a national
standard is exactly what the industry needs.

Jessika Villano said there are many "fly-by-night" organizations
popping up in attempt to take advantage of the potential for a booming

Marijuana growing practices also vary, and Villano said while her
dispensary tests for pesticide use, consumers aren't given that
guarantee elsewhere.

"I love smoking weed and I don't want to smoke pesticides and I
wouldn't want any of our members to," she said.

A national standard would help improve practices and get rid of
uncertainty for consumers, Villano said. Rasode said pesticide use and
organic production are among the factors CannabisWise will test.

A method for testing and certifying edible cannabis products will also
be added to the CannabisWise program to meet federal standards that
are expected to be implemented 12 months after legalization is
introduced, she said.

"I think the whole question of edibles is going to create quite a
challenge from a regulatory perspective," Rasode said. "How people
metabolize edibles is quite different."

She added there is also a question of the quality of the other
ingredients in edibles and the process of how they're made that will
need to be regulated.

The institute is looking at examples in the United States where
marijuana has been legalized, as well as a model created by the
Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries.

Rasode said she's confident the CannabisWise program will be ready to
accept applications by the end of April and issue certificates in time
for legalization.
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MAP posted-by: Matt