Medical Marijuana Businesses Seek Regulatory Compliance in California Despite Failure by Legislature to Adopt Statewide Policy Patient Focused Certification Program Director Kristin Nevedal will speak Saturday in Redway and Sunday in Laytonville on importance of product safety

February 27, 2015 | Kris Hermes

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.

This Saturday, PFC Program Director Kristin Nevedal will speak at 10am in Redway, California, at an Emerald Growers Association brunch on the state of cannabis cultivation and the importance of certification to increased product safety, quality, and purity. Nevedal will also speak at 11am on Sunday in Laytonville, California.

What: Two northern California events featuring PFC Program Director Kristin Nevedal on importance of certification to increased product safety, quality, and purity
When: Saturday, February 28th at 10am in Redway and Sunday, March 1st at 11am in Laytonville
Where: Saturday at the Mateel Community Center, 59 Rusk Lane in Redway / Sunday at Harwood Hall, 44400 Willis Ave in Laytonville

"The Patient Focused Certification program provides a means for California cannabis farmers to show ongoing compliance in a market place with gray regulatory guidelines," said Nevedal. "With ever-increasing enforcement of environmental regulations, certifications such as PFC can help farmers be prepared for scrutiny by the Water Board, Fish and Wildlife, and other regulatory agencies," continued Nevedal. "Products displaying the PFC seal of approval tells patients, caregivers, and practitioners that the medical cannabis was grown in accordance with environmental laws and product safety standards."

With more than one million qualified medical marijuana patients in 23 states and the District of Columbia, a new industry has developed in order to meet the needs of this rapidly growing population. Many states and localities have created regulations to govern the location, size, taxation, and even the ownership and management of the businesses and organizations that serve patients, however PFC can now ensure adherence to the regulatory guidelines AHPA and AHP have established for the purity and identity of the products being sold and the methods for producing and distributing them.

In 2013, AHPA issued a series of recommendations for state regulators, providing standards for the medical marijuana industry in the areas of cultivation and processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling and holding, dispensary operations, and laboratory practices. More recently, AHP released a cannabis monograph that set standards for the methodologies used during laboratory testing and ensuring the plant's identity, purity, quality, and botanical properties.

ASA has been offering trainings to the medical marijuana industry for over a decade and holds a permit from the District of Columbia for mandatory industry trainings. PFC industry trainings are co-produced with the Cannabis Training Institute (CTI) and certify cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, and laboratory technicians to ensure adherence to local and state regulations as well as AHPA and AHP standards. Such trainings are mandatory in some states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, and the District of Columbia, however the PFC program is now available to the medical cannabis industry in all 23 states and the District of Columbia. A total of 15 PFC certifications have been awarded in the District of Columbia and five states, including Arizona, California, Maine, New Mexico, and  Washington.

Further information:
Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program: http://PatientFocusedCertification.org
AHPA Standards: http://safeaccess2.org/sites/patientfocusedcertification/standards-development/apha-guidelines
AHP Cannabis monograph (Abridged version): http://www.safeaccessnow.org/ahp_cannabis_monograph_preview

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