What is PFC?
Patient Focused Certification (PFC) is a non-profit, third party certification for the medical cannabis industry offered by Americans for Safe Access (ASA). PFC is the only industry certification based on the new quality standards for medical cannabis products and businesses issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (AHP) Cannabis monograph. PFC is what patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, companies, and regulators can depend on to identify reliable, high-quality medical cannabis products and services.
“The consumer is left either uninformed or, at best, with anecdotal information. Standards and industry benchmarks don’t exist. With marijuana, you don’t really know what you’re going to get. The marijuana industry (both medical and recreational) needs to develop production standards concerning pesticides and chemicals and appropriate disclosure on the labels. Warnings should be included about driving or operating machinery and that use by those younger than 21 is illegal. The industry should also create a simple grading system that shows THC potency…That way a consumer will be less likely to exceed his or her limit.” ~ Bloomberg View (Feb. 25, 2013)
As states across the country have granted patients’ rights to access medical cannabis, a new industry has developed to meet the needs of legally-qualified patients. More than one-third of the US population now lives in states with medical cannabis laws, and over one million Americans are legally using medical cannabis under the care of a physician.
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 this population. While these regulations are important in integrating these businesses into the local landscape, they do not, for the most part, address the safety of the product being sold or the distribution model providing patient access.
Third-party certification ensures that an independent organization has reviewed the manufacturing process of a product or management process of a service and has determined that the final product complies with specific standards for safety, quality or performance. PFC certifies compliance with state and local regulations as well as AHPA and AHP standards and provides standardized industry training to ensure adherence.
PFC requires annual inspections, unannounced random inspections and product testing to ensure that certified companies continue to meet all PFC standards after the initial certification. Other nationally recognized certification programs include Good Housekeeping, NSF and ISO. PFC certified products and businesses will exhibit the PFC seal on their marketing, promotions and packaging to help consumers make educated purchasing decisions.