Cannabis has been around for a long time. It’s been used as medicine, clothing, paper and even food. As our knowledge about the plant has increased over time, so has our understanding of its potential benefits. But despite all this progress, there is still a stigma surrounding cannabis use due to its illegal status under federal law. In order to change that perception and make it easier for people to understand how cannabis affects their bodies, we need more information about it—especially when it comes to edibles like sweet treats or gummies that people might eat by accident, thinking they’re something else entirely! That’s why NCWM created the Cannabis Work Group, which developed technical reports on topics including testing methods and standards practices related to cannabis products. Now their work has officially been incorporated into NIST Handbook 150 Section 1221 (Drug Testing), which will be released in January 2023.
The Technical Report
Members of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) debated a number of cannabis-related proposals at their annual meeting, three of which had been advanced to vote status at a prior conference in January. Two of the proposals were barely defeated at the meeting last week, but one will now be included in government advice from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
All three proposals were made by the NCWM Laws and Regulations Committee, and the House of Representatives and House of Delegates of the bicameral conference then voted on them. Each plan required at least 27 votes to pass in both chambers, but two of them fell short in the former assembly by just two votes.
The technical report was discussed by representatives from multiple organizations with interests in Washington State’s recreational marijuana industry at the NCWM meeting. A final vote was taken approving the publication of the technical report.
The passed resolution specifically recommends that state regulators be given the authority to launch regulation to establish criteria for gauging cannabis product strength, packaging and labeling specifications, and “reasonable variances in amounts of cannabinoid” content. It also contains guidelines for determining the permitted variations in hemp or marijuana dosage owing to moisture gain or loss. Another indication that the marijuana industry is becoming more normalized as it develops and grows in states throughout the nation is the inclusion of the wording in the federal guidebook.
The States Standing In The Way
The conference and the voting on the cannabis proposals were not attended by all of the chamber’s members. Now that the proposals have been returned to the committee, they might be discussed once more during the January meeting of the following year. They might be put into effect in July of next year and included in the NIST 2024 handbook if members once more choose to give them voting status.
However, the conference’s close loss of the other two proposals demonstrates that there is still work to be done. The measures narrowly missed passing in the separate House of Representatives, which consists of 52 voting members representing all 50 states and two U.S. territories, despite receiving enough votes in the House of Delegates, which is made up of various regulators with ties to the NCWM.
Charlie Rutherford, co-chair of the NCWM cannabis task force, told Marijuana Moment that there was “a pattern” with respect to states that chose to abstain from voting on the failed cannabis standardization proposals.
Specifically, “the CBD-only states, or the states that don’t allow flower, were the primary ones to abstain,” he said.
“By my count, I have 37 possible voting states, and 27 of them did vote. And from what I’m looking at, that’s mainly where they fell,” Rutherford said, adding that “there were a couple of surprises in there.”
To put it another way, states that haven’t established comprehensive marijuana markets were more likely to abstain from voting on establishing the federal cannabis rules in the chamber where each state has a designated voting member. However, more states are expected to vote on legalization in the November elections, and lawmakers from a variety of states are expected to continue debating change.
The fact that cannabis regulations are changing on a federal level is an exciting step forward for the industry. Regulations are necessary in a legal market to lower barriers to entry and provide clarity to those wishing to enter the business, which will help ensure that all players have access to the same information about what it takes to be successful in this industry. We’re excited to see how marijuana reform continues to progress and hope that these new standards will set an example for other industries seeking similar changes.
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