NEHA is leading the charge to bridge the educational and training gaps that exist for local and state food safety programs and regulators related to the safety of cannabis-infused products for consumer consumption. As of January 2, 2018, 29 states and Washington, DC, have legalized medicinal cannabis and eight of those states and Washington, DC, have additionally legalized recreational cannabis (Figure 1). As the legalization of cannabis continues to expand, NEHA has been actively engaged in this topic to better understand the needs of local and state food safety programs, as well as build new and relevant partnerships, develop resources and tools, and provide educational opportunities that are useful and easy to access.
Below are our key priorities and the projects we have been working on to provide local and state food safety programs with needed tools and information to help bridge the gap between regulators and the cannabis industry.
Provide Timely and Easily Assessible Information
Edible Cannabis Products Webinar Series: Edibles are produced and consumed in communities many local and state food safety agencies serve and protect. With cannabis use growing in acceptability across the country and changing state regulations, legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes is becoming more common. While these times are exciting for many, they raise questions about the safety of cannabis-infused products and how they should be regulated and inspected.
NEHA has hosted three different webinars over the past year that address the growing concern about ensuring the safety of cannabis-infused products.
* Webinar #1--Wonderful World of Edibles ... Are They Safe?: This informative webinar provided participants with a general understanding of edibles. Toxicology, food safety, and environmental health experts talked about the environmental health considerations surrounding edibles, highlighted regulatory challenges, and discussed preventive controls and best practices to minimize food safety risks.
* Webinar #2--State-Level Variation in the Regulation of Edible Cannabis Products: Webinar presenters from RTI International focused on emerging policy areas in response to the growing legalization of cannabis. One area of emerging policy is the regulation of cannabis-infused edible products. The other area is how dispensary staff communicate the health and safety risks of edible products to consumers. The webinar was held in collaboration with NEHA, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and RTI International.
* Webinar #3--Development of Standards for Cannabis-Infused Products: Held in collaboration with ASTM International, this webinar focused on ASTM's work in taking the lead to develop standards related to cannabis and cannabis-infused products. Participants learned about ASTM's work to develop standards, the areas in which standards are being developed, the timeline expected for standard development, and how they can get involved. NEHA presented on the cannabis-infused product tools and resources currently under development for state and local regulatory programs.
You can access recordings of these webinars on NEHAs Food Safety website at www.neha.org/node/59142.
Development of Needed Resources
Cannabis-Infused Products Handbook: In the process of being developed, this "101" handbook will provide an overview of cannabis-infused product concepts and a glossary of terms. This useful...