Certification Program for Cannabis Businesses Launching

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will launch its standards and certification program for medical marijuana businesses later this week.

The Patient Focused Certification program aims to offer industrywide operational standards and best practices via third-party certification of dispensaries, cultivation operations, cannabis testing labs and manufacturing, packaging and labeling companies. (Here’s a link to extensive details and an application.)

Businesses that meet the criteria will be able to use a seal of approval in their marketing materials and on packaging, which could give them an edge over competitors should the program gain the trust of patients.

As part of the program, ASA will offer certification and professional training to cannabis businesses in every state with medical marijuana laws.

Standards and certification programs are a key element of most industries and will certainly help professionalize the MMJ sector. But it remains to be seen whether marijuana companies will participate in ASA’s program on a widespread basis. Previous attempts to introduce national industry standards have fizzled out, and some businesses are already balking at what they say are the high costs of ASA’s certification.

Certification fees run $5,000 a year on the low end to $20,000 annually on the high end, depending on the size of the operation and other factors.

The Patient Focused Certification program incorporates product standards designed by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) but tailored to the medical marijuana industry. It is also based on a cannabis monograph (a highly detailed, in-depth study) that AHPA released today.

The monograph brings together a wealth of scientific data and standards for the plant’s identity, purity, quality and botanical properties. It will help health care professionals integrate cannabis therapy by giving them a full scientific understanding of the plant and its effects.