CannabisWise program to ease consumer concerns ahead of legalization

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

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 their 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 industry.

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 a model created by the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries.

As regulations are announced by every level of government, 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.

Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

West Kootenay gleaner’s group gets big funding boost

CBT grant allows project to save more local produce from compost bin

Fruitvale man identified in fatal zipline accident in Thailand

Spencer Donaldson, 25, was from Fruitvale, B.C., the city’s mayor has confirmed

RDCK passes climate change ‘call to arms’

Director says the statement will help guide policy

Facing high regulatory barriers, Kootenay cannabis producers gather for support

Symposium on barriers facing legalization attended by hundreds

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

Most Read