Attorney Offers Advice, Best Practices for MIPs

Businesses that make marijuana-infused treats have been burgeoning as of late, with patients gobbling up everything from cannabis brownies and ice cream to pot pizza, peanut butter and lasagna.

But the laws and regulations governing edibles are just as vague and confusing as the ones covering dispensaries, and these budding businesses have very few places to turn to for advice and guidance.

Recognizing this void, attorney Kimberly Simms, who is an instructor at the Legal Cannabis Institute, has written a list of best practices and general legal regulations for edibles companies in NUG Magazine.

She focuses on marijuana-infused products (MIPs) in California, but the core advice applies everywhere.

Here’s what you can take away from the piece:

Legal: If you’re making edibles, you absolutely must comply with the same state and local health and safety codes that govern dispensaries and other businesses. In California, that means you have to operate as a nonprofit, obtain certain permits and verify that your customers are registered patients. Edibles providers also have to adhere to state codes covering the sale of food via retail operations and directly to consumers, paying particularly close attention to sanitation and storage regulations. In California and many other states, “at least one person working in the food production facility must have passed a state approved and accredited food safety certification.” You also can’t prepare food in a private home.

Cleanliness: Each kitchen should have a designated area where workers can wash their hands, complete with plenty of soap, hot water and disposable towels or a hand dyer. The washing area must be located away from places where food is made and stored. Workers handling food must use hairnets, trim their fingernails and wear clean clothes, and employees who come down with certain illnesses cannot work in the kitchen until they get healthy.

Labeling: Food should be “presented to the consumer in an honest manner, without misleading or misinforming the customer.” This means you should list all ingredients as well as the name and location of the manufacturer.

Packaging: A good model to follow is the Medical Cannabis Dispensary Regulations and Preparation of Edibles Cannabis Products guidelines issued by the San Francisco health department. Under the guidelines, edibles makers should individually package products in the same place they are made and include the date they were produced; indicate the weight of the cannabis in the product; ensure labeling is not attractive to children; and include a warning if a particular product contains nuts and other ingredients that could cause a severe allergic reaction in some people.