INSIGHTS ON THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY FROM REGULATORY BARRISTER MATTHEW (MATT) LAWSON
Matthew (Matt) Lawson, a UK Regulatory Barrister has penned a series of discussion pieces under the rubric “Insights on the Cannabis Industry”.
In Part 1 of Insight into the Industry: Cannabis Industry Regulation, barrister Matthew (Matt) Lawson looked at the Canadian Regulatory Framework. In this Part 2 we look at the US regulatory position relating to adult-use and medicinal cannabis.
Medical and adult-use cannabis is not federally legal in the US, requiring cannabis businesses have to operate within state borders – conducting their entire supply chain within one state, which has led to various vertically integrated cannabis companies becoming multistate operators, with similar operations in various states.
We obviously cannot examine every one of the 50 States and so we simply sample some examples of the issues and how they are tackled. In California, the authoritative body that regulates and provides licences to companies wanting to extract cannabis is the California Department of Public Health’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB), which is responsible for the regulation of all the commercial cannabis manufacturing within the State:
- One type of licence allows for extractions that use mechanical methods and volatile solvents that are, or produce, a flammable gas or vapour such as butane, hexane and propane. It also permits holders to use non-volatile solvents for their methods which include CO2 and ethanol extraction methods;
- There is an entirely separate licence which only allows extractors to use mechanical and non-volatile solvents such as ethanol and CO2;
- There are sub-divisions of each licence type which regulate the market segment which the operator can supply into – an “A licence” for Adult-Use and an “M licence” for Medicinal;
- Although extractors do not need to be GMP certified, they still need to abide by GMP practices to ensure that quality and safety standards are of high standards;
- The licensee has to ensure that health, security, safety and quality standards are met in terms of the premises, equipment and utensils, trained personnel, cannabis product components, manufacturing processes, procedures, labelling, record keeping and waste disposal; and,
- The licensee must also nominate one, or several, qualified individuals to act as quality control officers to ensure that standards are met.
Matthew (Matt) Lawson is a UK Barrister who has advised Governments and Corporations for over 25 years in respect of human impactors – Food & Ingestibles, Medicines, Medical Devices and inhalation mediums. He provides worldwide Cannabis advice to clients who stem from Governments, to some of the largest multinational CPG corporations, to pharmaceutical giants, through to niche pre-IPO Start-Ups in the CPG and medical fields.