Background: Medical cannabis has been used safely for thousands of years, and there is no evidence to suggests that it represents a real harm to patients. With some medical cannabis laws in the final stages of implementation, more attention has begun to be placed on quality control. Because of the lack of interest and funding at the federal level in performing quality control testing of medical cannabis, such testing has been conducted more independently and at the local level.

Findings: Multiple findings over the years have concluded that cannabis is relatively harmless, not the least of which was from a 1988 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) review of marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug, in which Chief DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young stated that, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” Despite reluctance by federal and state governments to conduct quality control testing on medical cannabis, various independent organizations made up of concerned patients, providers, scientists and other experts are working to improve medicine safety and quality by establishing industry standards and guidelines for patients, large-scale cultivators and distributors alike.

Position: Although ASA is not aware of any serious harm that has resulted from consuming cannabis, contaminated or not, we believe that testing can help provide better information to patients about the medication they’re using as well as enhance their choice. Testing should be used as a way to enhance rather than restrict access.