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    Applications for Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Program Are Now Open, Are You Ready?

    • Posted On 09/29/2015
    • Categorized In Blog
    • Written By

    Are you prepared to meet Maryland’s regulatory requirements? Applications are now open for those seeking licenses to operate as a medical cannabis grower, processor or dispenser in Maryland. The Maryland medical cannabis regulations require Industry professionals meet extensive staff training requirements, the most robust product safety protocols in the country and require local zoning sign-off.

    Join us, October 12th from 5:30 – 9:00pm at the Hilton Baltimore for an evening of education and networking.  As leading industry experts dive into how you can adequately prepare for the application process and best practices to meet regulatory requirements.


    • Dr. Jahan Marcu, Chief Auditor for Patient Focused Certification Program (PFC) and Lead Scientist for Americans for Safe Access (ASA)
    • Kristin Nevedal, Program Director for Patient Focused Certification (PFC)
    • Steph Sherer, Executive Director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA)
    • Rikin Mehta, Senior Deputy Director, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration (DOH)
    • Dawn Marie Merrill, LPN and Member of the Maryland Chapter for Safe Access


    • 5:30 – 6:00pm – Opening Reception
    • 6:15 – 7:00pm – Local Zoning, Application Process and PFC Resources
    • 7:00 – 7:30pm – Best Practices and Quality Standards
    • 7:30 – 8:00pm – What is Patient Focused Certification
    • 8:00 – 9:00pm – Industry Training Teaser 


    Our experienced staff members have over a dozen years’ experience working in implementing medical cannabis laws nationwide and have helped to develop and improve laws at both the local and state level. The PFC training and education program prepares individuals to learn and understand state and local regulations, as well as the required safety and operational protocols. PFC training is currently licensed by the Department of Public Health in the District of Columbia as a mandatory training for all staff working in the DC medical cannabis program. Additionally,PFC has been awarded a contract with the State of Maryland to train all compliance inspectors for the State’s medical cannabis program.  Click here to learn more about PFC.


    • $75 per person
    • $125 for Two

    Click here to Register Today!


    * purchase price is applicable towards any future PFC services!

    Product recalls show need for industry standards

    • Posted On 09/25/2015
    • Categorized In Blog
    • Written By

    Two recalls of medical cannabis products in Denver in one week earlier this month followed recent newspaper exposés that showed unacceptable levels of pesticides. Those recalls follow similar revelations about medical cannabis products being sold in Oregon, including some that were labeled as having been tested but still contained banned pesticides.

    While some of the problems are the result of cultivators using bad methods, the lack of clear state regulations about what can be used and how has contributed to confusion that puts patients at risk. Similar problems affect the reliability of testing and labeling protocols.

    As state regulators grapple with how to regulate an emerging industry and the medical cannabis industry works to create best-practice standards, all will do well to look to the work already done by established experts in botanical medicines and other herbal products.

    National standards for the production of cannabis products have been created by the American Herbal Products Association, drawing from their decades of experience with botanical medicines.  The AHPA recommendations for regulators and industry reach from seed to sale, including not just safe cultivation practices but sound manufacturing techniques that limit the chance of contamination and protocols for ensuring that labeling is accurate and mistake free.

    As a study in Oregon demonstrated, extracts are particularly problematic because the process of concentrating the cannabinoids and terpenes that make the medicine more potent and effective also concentrates any contaminants in the plant material. The Colorado recall earlier this month involved concentrated products sold by a manufacturer who had obtained the raw plant material from a licensed cultivator. The cultivator admitted using unapproved pesticides. Some of the products were also mislabeled as to the origins of the plants used to produce them, a problem the manufacturer blamed on a former employee.

    The Denver Department of Environmental Health and the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division were responsible for ordering the recall, but not because they caught the problem. The recall resulted came after the  Denver Post published the results of their own lab tests that detected the pesticides.

    As worrisome as these sort of revelations are for patients with compromised immune systems and delicate health, it would be a mistake to think this is something new. Pesticides and contaminants have long been a problem for all agricultural products, particularly expensive ones that can yield large profits.

    The exposés in Colorado and Oregon are great news for patients in that they  highlight the growing concern for consumer safety and quality assurance. More states are instituting quality controls in the form of requirements for testing and labeling, but those are only as good as their protocols. And many states have failed to identify what cultivation products are acceptable for use when growing cannabis. Nor can consumers look for organic labeling because organic certification is a federal matter that cannabis is exclude from.

    That’s where ASA’s Patient Focused Certification comes in. As an independent 3rd-party auditing and verification system, PFC gives industry, regulators, and consumers confidence that their cannabis products meet the standards established by AHPA and other leading experts in the field.

    PFC to Work with Regulators to Ensure Highest Level of Industry Compliance

    Baltimore, MD – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has been selected to provide training for compliance inspectors operating under the authority of the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. The auditors are charged with ensuring members of the state’s new medical cannabis industry comply with all applicable regulations, which were finalized by the Commission in August. 

    In addition to developing its own rigorous compliance protocols, Maryland has adopted the American Herbal Product Association’s (AHPA) Recommendations to Regulators in the areas of: cultivation, distribution and manufacturing. AHPA’s guidelines offer seed-to-consumption product safety and quality control measures that will ensure rigid oversight of the state’s medical cannabis industry.

    Auditor training will be offered through the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program, a project of ASA with extensive experience training members of the cannabis industry to meet strict regulatory compliance guidelines. PFC has trained thousands of employees of the medical cannabis industry and is currently under contract with the District of Columbia to train all medical cannabis staff to achieve comprehensive regulatory compliance.

    Study Finds Many Medical Edibles Mislabeled

    • Posted On 07/01/2015
    • Categorized In Blog
    • Written By

    American consumers expect to be able to check the labels of food products to determine what is in them. For products infused with medical cannabis, that is all the more important, but a new study finds that cannabis products may be more often mislabeled than not.

    Last fall, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine collected edible medical cannabis products from dispensaries in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Their analysis, published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that THC and CBD content matched the labels in only 13 of the 75 different products tested. Accurate labeling considered to be anything measuring within 10 percent of the listed amount.

    The Biochemical System Controlling the Effects of Cannabis: An Introduction

    • Posted On 06/20/2015
    • Categorized In Blog
    • Written By

    In every human there are complex biological systems working to keep physiological functions in order. When these biochemical systems are functioning optimally, they maintain optimal mood, help maintain appropriate levels of immunity, proper digestion, regular sleep, brain function, etc. The housekeeping properties of these systems have an important role in modulating health and disease. One of these systems is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The system is built out of G protein-coupled receptors called (CB1 and CB2 “receptors”) and the “endocannabinoids” that bind to them. The ECS maintains normal cerebral and physiological function.

    Human clinical trials and animal studies show that stimulating this biochemical system can have both highly beneficial health effects and few negative side effects. Basic research experiments with genetically modified mice, which are created without CB1 or CB2 receptors, have shown that without this biochemical system, the animals (and presumably, humans) would probably die at birth.4-7 Studies in both humans and animals demonstrate that blocking this biochemical system can result in dreadful consequences, including, but not limited to, depression, stress, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, and even increased tendency for suicide.8-11 The only antagonist drug ever to be marketed to humans that blocked the cannabinoid receptors — Acomplia® (rimonabant; Sanofi-Aventis; Paris, France) — was quickly withdrawn from the market due to its negative health consequences.

    Booming Cannabis Industry’s Need For Quality Control Can Be Solved

    By Ryan Allway, Cannabis Financial Network

    Last year’s landmark Gallup poll indicated that for the first time since Gallup started polling in 1969 (only 12% favored legalizing it back then) more than half of Americans (58%) are in favor of marijuana being legalized, and we continue to see indicators that the trend towards legalization is proceeding at a rapid pace throughout North America. In Canada, a recent poll by the Department of Justice indicates that 37.3% are in favor of legalization and another 33.4% want small amounts decriminalized. With 23 states including DC now having some form of medical marijuana legislation on the books and Health Canada having approved thirteen licensed producers already for Canadian markets under their MMPR program, like Tweed Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: TWMJF) and Organigram, Inc. (TSXV: OGI), it appears the regulatory floodgates may at last be opening and the sector is evolving rapidly in response, with a myriad of players rushing in to fill all the various roles this nascent industry requires.

    Even the oldest continuously published newspaper on the west coast of the U.S., Oregon’s paper of record, The Oregonian, has now come out staunchly in favor, openly advocating legalization of recreational marijuana in a piece by the editorial board. Before recreational marijuana was legalized in the state of Oregon, The Oregonian editorial board argued that Measure 91 (which legalized marijuana) should be brought in, as it would eliminate the “charade” that is the current regulatory framework, allowing Oregonians access to an intoxicant that “should’ve never been prohibited in the first place.” The $40M in estimated tax revenues per year generated by legalization according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, combined with Oregon having a state debt over $86B (roughly $22,000 per capita – State Budget Solutions), looks like the proverbial handwriting on the wall for this state.

    Industry Leaders Advocate Best Practices for Regulation, Labeling & Manufacturing of Medicinal Cannabis & Hemp Products

    Washington, DC — 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.

    Medical Marijuana Businesses Seek Regulatory Compliance in California Despite Failure by Legislature to Adopt Statewide Policy

    Redway & Laytonville, CA — Multiple medical marijuana businesses from northern California — Sonoma Lab Works and Peace in Medicine, with dispensaries in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa — were certified earlier this month by Patient Focused Certification (PFC), a nationwide program that verifies the quality and reliability of products sold to patients, as well as quality control standards, calibration, and evaluation processes for labs that test medical marijuana products.

    PFC is a project of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the only nonprofit, third-party certification for the medical marijuana industry based on new quality standards issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (AHP). ASA formed PFC in part to fill the vacuum left by states like California, which have so far failed to adopt statewide regulations aimed at protecting patients.

    Increased Certification of Medical Marijuana Businesses in Washington State Ensure Quality & Safety for Patients

    Seattle, WA — Two Washington State-based laboratories — The Werc Shop and Phytalab — have recently been certified under a nationwide program that verifies quality control standards, calibration, and evaluation processes for labs that test medical marijuana products. These certificates were awarded by the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program, which also certifies the quality and reliability of products sold at licensed medical marijuana businesses.

    The Werc Shop and Phytalab test medical and recreational marijuana products produced, manufactured, and sold throughout Washington State. PFC is a project of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the only nonprofit, third-party certification for the medical marijuana industry based on new quality standards issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (AHP).

    City on track for proposed medical marijuana legislation by end of year

    By Evan Bush, Seattle Times

    The city of Seattle hosted a medical marijuana forum Thursday night as it prepares to change how it regulates the industry. The forum included industry activists, health-care officials, laboratory experts and other stakeholders.

    David Mendoza, who advises Mayor Ed Murray on marijuana issues, moderated the event and reiterated the mayor’s commitment to addressing the issue.

    “We will have legislation on medical marijuana by the end of the year,” said Mendoza. “The mayor will have a more specific announcement in a week or so.”