CannabisWise program to ease consumer concerns ahead of legalization

Vancouver dispensary owner Buddha Barn said a national standard is exactly what the industry needs.

Marijuana consumers are likely to have a flood of options when pot becomes legal next summer and now a not-for-profit group is stepping in to help determine which products to trust.

The National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education said its CannabisWise certification will test businesses on quality and safety guidelines, similar to the way other voluntary programs regulate pharmacy services or fish products in Canada.

The institute’s CEO, Barinder Rasode, said they’ve heard concerns that Canadians are looking for clarity when it comes to buying quality marijuana that is sourced ethically and adhering to laws from all three levels of government.

“People want certainty and want to know how they’re going to be able to trust products on the market and companies that are entering the space,” Rasode said.

The certification program is based on 12 standards that focus on quality control, compliance to the new laws and regulations, and the promotion of responsible cannabis use.

Any business interested in having their product certified will have to apply, provide the necessary documents and pay a fee.

Rasode said they haven’t yet established the cost of the annual certification.

Trained inspectors will scrutinize businesses and facilities in person before approving the credentials, she said.

The owner of the Vancouver dispensary Buddha Barn said a national standard is exactly what the industry needs.

Jessika Villano said there are many “fly-by-night” organizations popping up in attempt to take advantage of the potential for a booming industry.

Marijuana growing practices also vary, and Villano said while her dispensary tests for pesticide use, consumers aren’t given that guarantee elsewhere.

“I love smoking weed and I don’t want to smoke pesticides and I wouldn’t want any of our members to,” she said.

A national standard would help improve practices and get rid of uncertainty for consumers, Villano said.

Rasode said pesticide use and organic production are among the factors CannabisWise will test.

A method for testing and certifying edible cannabis products will also be added to the CannabisWise program to meet federal standards that are expected to be implemented 12 months after legalization is introduced, she said.

“I think the whole question of edibles is going to create quite a challenge from a regulatory perspective,” Rasode said. “How people metabolize edibles is quite different.”

She added there is also a question of the quality of the other ingredients in edibles and the process of how they’re made that will need to be regulated.

The institute is looking at examples in the United States where marijuana has been legalized, as well a model created by the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries.

As regulations are announced by every level of government, Rasode said she’s confident the CannabisWise program will be ready to accept applications by the end of April and issue certificates in time for legalization.

Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

The track washrooms will be opened up again next year in May. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Toilets, sinks torn off, graffiti on walls at the Burns Lake track washroom

“Seems to happen once or twice a year” says the Village CAO on the vandalized track washroom

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read