The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Cannabis Committee, in coordination with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), announces the release of a joint statement advocating for implementation of best practices for the regulation of consumable, topical, and inhalant cannabis and hemp-derived products to ensure quality and consumer safety. These best practices were developed with the input of numerous industry experts and establish common language and defined terms for the transparent and accurate labeling of these products to support responsible commerce and informed use of the cannabis plant.
AHPA, ASA and HIA will be promoting these best practices at the 3rd Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference being held March 27-31, in Washington, DC.
Recommendations for plant part identification
The AHPA Cannabis Committee has established a policy that lawfully-marketed products consisting of or including Cannabis spp. ingredients that are intended for oral ingestion, topical application, or inhalation be labeled to identify the part of the Cannabis plant from which the ingredient is derived (e.g., seed oil, flower extract, or extract of aerial parts). This policy does not apply to parts of the Cannabis plant provided to consumers in unprocessed and recognizable forms.
"Today's hemp food and body care companies implement good manufacturing practices and adhere to established standards for labeling," noted Eric Steenstra, executive director of the HIA. "In the best interest of consumers, it's vitally important for leading industry associations and manufacturers to work together to clarify and implement guidelines for all hemp and cannabis products."
The AHPA Cannabis Committee has developed regulatory recommendations in the form of best practices addressing the operational stages of cannabis production and distribution: cultivation and processing; manufacturing and related operations; laboratory practice; and dispensing. These recommendations are applicable to any operation lawfully producing and/or distributing cannabis or industrial hemp consumable, topical, or inhalant products that are not already governed by federal regulations. ASA and HIA members contributed to the development of these recommendations as well.
The AHPA Cannabis Committee, ASA, and the HIA support the regulatory trends toward mandatory product testing and adoption of other product safety regulations in states currently implementing medical marijuana programs.
"Regulators seeking to enhance cannabis product quality can adopt and implement these recommendations, as well as the product quality guidelines found in the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (AHP) Cannabis Monograph," stated Michael McGuffin, president of AHPA. "AHPA is conducting outreach encouraging all medical cannabis states to update their laws and regulations accordingly to include product safety and quality considerations."
Cannabis companies are volunteering to adjust to these market demands as well.
"Cannabis companies are encouraged to participate in ASA's Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program as a way to independently demonstrate to consumers that these guidelines have been integrated into their production processes," explained Steph Sherer, ASA executive director. "The PFC program criteria draw from both the AHPA Cannabis Committee recommendations and the AHP Cannabis Monograph to foster consistency across the industry."
"This is an exciting time for the cannabis industry; tremendous progress has been made in the past few years and the industry will continue to offer these products in a safe and transparent way that is imperative to its future," McGuffin added.
The complete joint statement is available online.
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About American Herbal Products Association:
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal and botanical products industry. AHPA is comprised of more than 300 domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of herbs and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA's mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website: www.ahpa.org.
About Americans for Safe Access:
With over 50,000 active members in all 50 states, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers. Website: www.safeaccessnow.org.
About Hemp Industries Association:
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is a non-profit trade association comprised of hundreds of hemp businesses, representing the interests of the hemp industry and encouraging the research and development of new hemp products. More information about the HIA can be found on the association's website: www.thehia.org.