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    PFC and A2LA Partner to Develop the First Internationally-Recognized Cannabis Laboratory Accreditation Program

    A2LA Photo OpManufacturers, dispensaries, caregivers and patients alike seek reassurances that the medicinal Cannabis products, materials or services they produce or purchase can be trusted to meet their own expectations, conform to prevailing purity requirements, and are truly safe to sell and consume. In practice, this means that the source Cannabis material is submitted to, and is tested by, a trusted, appropriately-accredited laboratory. Choosing a technically competent laboratory for such analyses serves to minimize potential risks inherent to producing, supplying and/or receiving essential, pharmacologically-active products. A laboratory’s technical competence is therefore crucial to the manufacturer, the dispensary, the cultivator and, most importantly, the patient.

    Appropriate testing of Cannabis products and materials can be both expensive and time consuming, even if they are done correctly the first time. If initial processing or testing is carried out incorrectly, the costs and time involved in re‐testing can be even higher – as the product may have appeared to have failed to meet specifications or expectations. Accordingly, choosing a technically competent laboratory can serve to minimize chances of re‐testing or engaging costly recall plans. Choosing a competent laboratory can be difficult, as it involves finding an organization with the appropriate certifications and/or accreditation.

    Development of a universal, internationally-recognized Cannabis-specific laboratory accreditation program – between ASA and American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) –will significantly advance both patient and public safety, globally, and will solidify PFC as a provider of a vital, accredited Cannabis certification program {Please insert link to Press Release}.  The program will combine the expertise and resources of the country’s largest accreditation body with the scientific rigor and knowledge base of the nation’s largest medical Cannabis advocacy group. Accredited and certified laboratories under this program will achieve the clarity of the principle of “tested once, accepted everywhere in the world.”

    For more than a decade, ASA has worked with technical committees composed of global experts from industry, consumer associations, academia, clinical researchers, NGOs, and government – working to create true and reliable standards for Cannabis and the Cannabis industry. Over the last 10 years, ASA and PFC, with their partner groups, have published the Cannabis Best Practices with AHPA and the AHP Cannabis Monograph – standards that have been adopted in Cannabis-medicine regulations by 16 States thus far.

    The ISO and PFC standards were developed for, and continue to be improved by, a consensus of prevailing scientific understanding, and will further ASA’s mission of ensuring safe access to Cannabis for research and therapeutic use.  Implementation of and compliance with the requirements of the PFC and A2LA program will effectively address those concerns associated with Cannabis health and human life, and will legitimize and streamline those laboratories tasked with serving the Cannabis community.

    Implementation of a Cannabis-specific laboratory accreditation program –  based upon the requirements of both ISO/IEC 17025 and ASA’ s Patient Focused Certification (PFC) Program – will result in far-reaching benefits for the myriad of laboratories tasked with Cannabis analysis. A few of the benefits are as follows:

    •   Confidence in meeting regulatory requirements
    •   Enhanced quality of processes and procedures
    •   Reduced errors, preventing re-testing of products
    •   Enhanced reliability and confidence in results
Increased technical competency of staff and personnel

    •   Increased client satisfaction
    •   Improved reputation and image of Cannabis testing labs
    •   International acceptance

    Additionally, implementation of ISO/IEC 17025 Cannabis laboratory specific accreditation provides a system for continuous improvement of daily laboratory practices. The A2LA/PFC Cannabis laboratory accreditation program will be internationally recognized by ILAC, which means that the resulting analysis can be a “passport” when submitting results to contractors, governments, or manufacturers that require independently verified laboratories.


    More information:

    Press Release

    Patient Focused Certification

    A2LA Cannabis Accreditation Program


    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.

    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.

    Marijuana as a Botanical Medicine

    • Posted On 12/17/2013
    • Categorized In Blog
    • Written By

    Check out our Google Hangout to hear from a panel of experts including AHP Executive Director Roy Upton, RH, DAyu; Professor Lyle Craker, PhD, of University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Dr. Michelle Sexton, ND, and Dr. Jahan Marcu, PhD, of the Americans for Safe Access Multidisciplinary Scientific Advisory Board on the significance of the Cannabis monograph and the new PFC certification program.