It is ironical that federal dollars were used to publish a journal report which blames the federal prohibition of marijuana for putting cannabis consumers at risk since there is no federal guidance on the safety standards that the industry should adhere to.
Environmental Health Perspectives, an open access journal whose work is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health, published this damning report in its edition for this week.
The report observes that because marijuana is still considered an illegal drug by the federal government, regulatory agencies like the FDA and the EPA cannot provide guidance to the industry on how matters of consumer safety can be addressed.
Consequently, each state that has legalized marijuana in some form has been left to its own devices regarding how to protect the millions of marijuana users.
Concerns about heavy metals, the use of butane during the extraction of concentrates and the presence of microbial contaminants are issues that federal regulators like the EPA and FDA would look into if marijuana was legal federally.
A clear example of how this oversight would work was exemplified last week when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would soon call for public comment as part of its process of considering applications for pesticides that can be used in hemp fields. Hemp was legalized last year, and that explains why the EPA is stepping in to provide guidance regarding the crop protection products which can be used during the cultivation of industrial hemp.
Because marijuana is still illegal federally, there is no consistency in the implementation of consumer protection since each state has its own laws on the matter.
The journal quotes Ben Gelt, the board chairman of the Cannabis Certification Council, as saying that consumers in non-legal states face the greatest safety risks since there is no regulation at all of the marijuana sold there illegally.
Gelt adds that not a single state that has legalized marijuana has got everything right in terms of the consumer protection measures embedded in the state laws. There is need for a lot of research so that all the gaps can be filled, Gelt stated.
The journal has a disclaimer stating that while it received financial support from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations, such support should not be construed to mean that those entities endorse or condone the views, products, services and any other information contained in the publication.
All the same, experts agree that industry actors like Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF) and Willow Biosciences Inc. (CSE: WLLW) must be chuckling at the irony of federal money calling out the federal government for not legalizing marijuana.
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