Earlier in our article “Proposed Medical Cannabis Regulations“, we outlined the basics of the California Department of Public Health’s upcoming proposed regulations for the state cannabis industry. These regulations cover manufacturing and licensing processes for California cannabis producers.
While there are arguments both for and against these regulations, they still are nothing more than a proposal, to be voted on by June 15th. As such, those against the potential new laws are rallying with a petition in the hopes of stopping the regulations before they are passed. CANNA Business Now conducted an interview with Christopher Coggan––a California business owner who works in the cannabis industry––about the proposed amendments, the dangers they pose, and revisions that should be made for clarity’s sake.
How are you involved in the cannabis industry?
I am the co-founder and CEO of Therapy Tonics and Provisions, Inc, an infused beverage and tincture company founded in 2014 in La Jolla, CA. The history goes back to 2008, when I had originally invested in another cannabis-related drink company. That relationship soured when promises went unfulfilled and contractual obligations were ignored… I bitched and complained about it for the next two years to my wife, as she had made the original introduction. Finally in 2014, she put her foot down and reminded me of my background and experience. “If that $!@! could make a drink, you can make it better.” And so the journey began.
Therapy Tonics and Provisions’ mission is to create innovative, healthy alternatives to traditional ways of consuming marijuana for medical and therapeutic purposes that are great-tasting and delivered in a consistent and measurable way, every time.
Tell me about the proposed regulations. How are the lacking?
Many of these proposed regulations are well considered and advance our shared goal of a regulated industry. A few specific rules threaten to reduce product choices, limit access, eliminate dosing options, significantly increase your costs, negatively impact the environment, and stifle innovation in the largest cannabis market in the world.
What are some of the specific problems with the proposed regulations?
OMCS §40300(c) prohibits a wide range of edible cannabis products, including products containing dairy, meat, and seafood, as well as products requiring refrigeration.
This is one of the biggest issues for [our company]; when combined with the outrageous testing expectations, [this] will lead to the demise of probably 80% of the current infused products on the market today.
Issue #1– No dairy, vegetable or fruit extracts: In a nutshell, saying no dairy means most baked goods that contain dairy would be off the shelf. As this proposed regulation also states “no juices or extracts from fruits or vegetables,” that more or less eliminates any dairy substitutes that are not completely synthetic. No Almond Milk, no coconut oil or milk.
Issue #2 – Of possibly greater concern is the general notion that marijuana cannot be combined with anything increasing potency. The very nature of infusion food products increases potency, so if this is taken at face value, it basically means no edibles. The reason for this is the way THC is metabolized. When it is combusted, THC becomes THC ∆9 Metabolite. This is a psychoactive compound that is responsible for the high one feels when smoking marijuana. When marijuana is ingested, however, it is processed through the liver initially, resulting in THC ∆11 Metabolite. This metabolite is far more psychoactive, as it more readily crosses the blood brain barrier.
Issue #3– No Temperature Control: This is California, one of the healthiest states in the nation. We embrace healthy, fresh foods and alternative medicines. It is 100% counterintuitive for the state to suggest that temperature-controlled products should be banned. Our position is that any product that embraces existing food safety standards should be available to both medical and adult use consumers.
Are there ways in which the proposed amendments can be altered or changed to better support small businesses?
BMC §5102(d), “Laboratory Testing Results,” requires that manufactured cannabis batches must be destroyed if a sample from the batch fails a laboratory test. Contrary to the procedure for harvested cannabis, the regulation does not provide any possibility for manufacturers to remediate goods that fail an initial laboratory test.
The CCIA Manufacturing Committee has come to a consensus that manufacturers should have the opportunity to remediate their product as an alternative to batch destruction. Samples of manufactured cannabis may fail a laboratory test for a number of reasons. Causes for test failure under the proposed laboratory regulations are wide-ranging and include over-potency or under-potency of THC or CBD, failure of a homogeneity test, or a positive test for one of approximately one hundred contaminations. Depending on the type of product and reason for test failure, manufacturers may be able to more or less easily remediate a batch to pass a subsequent test. Chocolate-based products, for instance, can easily be melted down and re-engineered to pass product safety requirements.[Another proposed regulation]: BMC §5076, “Returns Between Licensees,” prohibits returns of defective products unless in exchange for an identical product.
The Bureau’s ISOR claim that returns of defective product, if not directly in exchange for non-defective versions of the same product, would compromise the track and trace system. It is not clear to us why this would be the case. As part of any return, defective products would be marked through the track and trace system and destroyed as per the Bureau’s protocols for destruction of cannabis. After return of the defective product, the manufacturer could exchange the same product, a different product, or credit towards future products. In each of these cases, the track and trace system would simply mark the transaction between licensees at the time and in the manner that it occurred.[Editor’s note: There are more proposed changes and clarifications, which can be found on the petition’s page here. https://causes.therapytonics.com/causes/].
Is there anything in the proposed regulations you find favorable?
As California cannabis manufacturers and organizations advocating on behalf of patients and consumers, we support practical, effective regulations that will encourage innovation and ensure that patients retain safe, affordable access to their favorite infused products.
How can people help prevent these regulations from going through?
Sign our petition and share it with your friends––we only have 10 days left for public comment. In a market that has effectively self-regulated for almost 20 years, the manufacturers and their positions need to be carefully and thoughtfully considered in the regulatory process. [You] have until June 13th to publicly comment on this subject to the BMC and the OMC.
If you want to share your voice in regards to the upcoming regulations and tell your lawmakers you either support or dislike the proposed regulations, visit cannabis.ca.gov for more information.
Originally posted 2017-06-05 19:50:00.