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Cultivating Consumer Safety: Laws of The Land in The Consumers’ Hand

Cultivating Consumer Safety: Laws of The Land in The Consumers’ Hand

What are the consequences when we substitute quality for quantity? Could a purpose driven movement for healing and the spread of good ambiances and love be substituted for profit driven motives? It is at these crossroads where collectives, companies, and even industries decide their own fate. Is it possible to toxify something so naturally produced to the point where the medicinal purposes of such an herb produced by a plant are over-ridden by the side effects created with such mal-practice? Absolutely, all foods have an expiration, a tipping point from fresh produce to mold.

Such a process can be prevented, controlled, and even eliminated with the right practice. The fear of medicinal industries such as the Cannabis industry is not the stigma it was once known for; a new generation of information has inspired even the most conservative audience to consider the benefits of the Cannabis plant. The concern is whether the tide of the booming industry will continue its mission of healing, or will the pursuit of profits change the purpose and alter the practices of cultivation. Proper cultivation of cannabis, industrial hemp, or any plant or foods utilized for medicine needs proper care. From the initial seed planting, infusion of required nutrients, to the actual harvesting process, which includes the cut down and trimming of the actual flower, to the drying or “curing” process. All the various steps require attention to detail, efficiency, and a lot of labor unknown to most consumers. This process of cultivation must be regulated to ensure the quality of the flower produced and sold in dispensaries are consumed without side effects from mold or pesticides, and to assure the overall quality of the cannabis industry, enabling the medicinal purposes of the plant to reign over any profit driven motives to cut corners.

Quality Assurance is needed to establish, regulate, and oversee such methods in such cultivating processes in order to guarantee that safe medicinal cannabis is the only product sold to patients and members of cannabis collectives. It is known that the proper methods exist, even such institutions as Oaksterdam University instruct students on the proper methods of cultivating cannabis, allowing the public to uncover the true roots of cannabis, and the dangers of the medicinal cannabis plant if produced implementing mal-practice. Cannabis has been grown for years all around the world, many have produced quality product that does in fact contain THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (Cannabidiol), and treated many patients with various conditions. The concern here is maintaining a quality assured process moving forward towards legalization.

Now we could attack cultivators and many other cannabis connoisseurs and businessmen alike but the true concern lies at the risk of the consumers’ overall safety.  How can we continue to ensure that properly cultivated flowers, trimmed, cured, and packaged properly, are what’s hitting the shelves? With Cannabis having medicinal purposes, we must ensure that the process from cultivation to packaging to stocking of the shelves is done properly, without skipping necessary steps that could put the consumers’ health at risk. What good is an industry that claims to help Cancer and AIDS patients deal with pain, while claiming to work wonders on PTSD for Veteran patients, and miraculously depleting the number of seizures for children with epilepsy, if the product is not safe for consumption? The entire vision of the medicinal edge the industry proclaimed is tarnished if the flower produced and sold contains pesticides, mold, or too many nutrients, appearing as a dried out old bud that just leads to more health issues.

Cultivation methods, harvesting practices, and packaging should all be monitored and regulated not only by company Supervisors, Management, or Directors, but additional checks should be made by outside officials to ensure Quality Assurance is maintained. Fresh quality product should be what is sold at dispensaries. The State of California cannot allow freshness of such medicinal products to be compromised by profit driven motives to mass produce and ignore safety standards. Such practices should be considered ill and void and proper methods should be taken into account by every collective and overseen by the States selected officials. The development of the Department of Marijuana or Cannabis is necessary to regulate such a fast growing industry.

Government officials will act fast to ensure that everyone gets their fair share, Taxes will be paid, indeed one cannot run from such payment as it will cost them their businesses. State officials should also look into the quality pushed out of local dispensaries and consider consumer safety as a priority, and we can only hope the local collectives consider the same. Liaisons will need to be in place as middle men or inspectors to ensure the quality of cannabis purchased is up to par with legal standards. Such individuals will of course be state approved, licensed to purchase cannabis for certain dispensaries. A legalized, more methodical process overseen by such approved personnel will ensure the products purchased are properly inspected and safe for consumption.

The same ethical standards should be applied to cultivation centers for mass production of cannabis, as is done already for the health and safety of consumers of any freshly produced product sold in grocery stores. According to the Federal Food & Drug Administration growers and processors are responsible for preventing bacteria in the soil or water. The bacteria can therefore contaminate the produce during harvest, and even post packaging during the storage process (http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm114299.htm#video). The handling of produce which the FDA fully regulates, ensures proper methods are taken to guarantee the fresh product which every consumer demands. In this case produce is used because of the similarities in the cultivation, harvest, and storage process’ to that of Cannabis.

The FDA goes on to make similar recommendations to each consumer to assist in the selection process of such produce recommending to do overall visual inspections of each individual fruit or vegetable, as recommended to those purchasing Cannabis. To assist in your Cannabis selection, the following is always recommended: Visually inspect the bud’s quality and quantity, it is good to consult your local collectives’ consultants to discuss the differences in strains available, which is important to know for differing effects, and percentages of THC & CBD in each strain help to determine potency and level of medicinal purposes of the selected flower. Last recommendation is the simplest for all humans and animals alike; follow your nose. According to ProjectCBD.org, there is in fact a “entourage process” in which Terpenes or Terpenoids, provide the pungent oils in which provide the aromatic scents of the cannabis buds. This entourage process “magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components,” and even emphasizes the exotic flavors of the cannabis, providing the minty, berry, and pine flavors. Even with Cannabis our human nature is to be selective and the laws of attraction play a key role in finding the strain you like.

Ethan Russo, MD, published his studies on British Journal of Pharmacology and found that the interactions between Terpenes and Cannabinoids increase the beneficial effects of cannabis while alleviating any anxiety caused by high amounts of THC. Dr. Russo’s study, like the ones conducted by Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco, produced evidence of the medicinal benefits of the cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions that exist in properly produced cannabis. British Journal of Pharmacology also found that the infusion of both terpenes and cannabinoids helps fights off the bacterial infection MRSA or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Dr. Russo discovered that the cannabinoid-terpenoid combinations “could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.”

Which is why when it comes to the Cannabis industry, quality is king. For with Cannabis looks can always be deceiving, the quality to the untrained eye will appeal more to the look of the flower, but believe me you will be able to smell quality from a block away. Cannabis not cultivated properly, whether over infused with nutrients, not flushed correctly, dried and stored improperly can produce a product that is not up to standards of quality produced cannabis. Which is a fear many have for such an industry with purpose driven motives to help those in need of alternative healing. Cannabis has got the attention of mainstream media, it is a hot topic for political debates as California, Nevada, and Ohio are now pushing to join Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, and Washington State as the states where Cannabis is consumed for recreational purposes.

As the demand continues to increase, as it will with legalization, cannabis will only attract more consumers. People who feared the legality of medicinal cannabis on the Federal level will be more comfortable purchasing from a State controlled legal Cannabis industry. Local and State economies are set to boom, jobs are currently being created for many middle class Americans, there is no doubt naturally produced green will generate more green in the form of money. The State of California for example is set to tax the green out of any thought of a recession. A session may be required for such considerations for regulation of California’s number one cash crop, Cannabis.

It is already evident that mass production is good for business, but it can have devastating effects on consumer safety if corners are cut in the cultivating and production process. State ran Quality Assurance programs are needed to ensure all precautions are met in the name of safety. The California Department of Food and Agriculture is the agency “responsible for licensing cultivation. They will also be responsible for implementing a tracking program for plants from cultivation to sale” (http://www.dca.ca.gov/marijuanafaqs.shtml). The Department of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the State Department of Public Health, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the State Water Resources Control Board will all be assigned by the State of California to monitor and regulate the cultivation of cannabis, issue licenses to such cultivators, and will monitor excessive water usage used by growers of cannabis.

Monitoring water usage is very important due to recent water shortages in California, as well as the environmental impacts of cultivating mass quantities of the flower. Which unveils the significance of properly producing cannabis and how the State of California is preparing to protect its natural resources. According to the proposed Assembly Bill-243 Medical Marijuana Chapter 688 if the Cultivation of cannabis is regulated by State and local officials under environmental protection laws then that could lead to Marijuana being included in anti-trust laws like the Sherman Act or the Federal Trade Commission Act. This would completely regulate the cannabis world, but also open the door to “preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade” which could expand the industry and its trade barriers.

Of course under full regulation of the State will require paying taxes and the fees to be licensed, but what about monitoring the actual cultivation process? Along with licensing the cultivation sites and master growers, Assembly Bill 243 also needs to establish regulations on the use certain pesticides on mass quantities of the cannabis crops. The Department of Pesticide Regulation, like with fruits and vegetables, will have to regulate the misuse of pesticides on medical marijuana to prevent harm to an individual’s body, making them sick. There are methods of cultivating which use natural methods and cut out pesticides, but such Veganic methods are costly. With a vast amount of competition out there the urge cut corners and produce quantity over quality may be getting cut short by soon to come state regulations.

Cutting cost in production, and increasing profits come into play when trying to compete when cultivating cannabis. This is where state mandates can play a huge role in the cannabis industry, safety. This is not just limited to background checks on licensed cultivators but extends to the proper growing methods, usage of chemicals or pesticides, but proper packaging and labeling.  The State Department of Public Health is looking to establish regulations on all edible medicinal cannabis products involving the production process and labeling due to ridiculous amounts of THC, because the dosages of some edibles will need to be limited to that which is safe for human consumption. The Department of Food and Agriculture are ready to ensure that all cannabis products labeled with the unique identifier that they will issue and mandate that sellers label the cannabis product safe for consumption in accordance with state law.  (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB243)

The California Department of Consumer Affairs already anticipates regulations set for the Cannabis industry to be set by January 1st, 2018. Meaning the Industry is a budding tree, with its inevitable crop out coming in November 2016, when the people of California will approve recreational marijuana for adults and patients alike. The Department of Consumer Affairs will work with or under the umbrella of The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, which will issue licenses for distributors, dispensaries, and transporters. (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB243)

Cultivating, packaging, labeling, transporting, stocking, and selling are all a part of a drawn out process that will soon be under the watchful eye of the California State regulations. Every citizen hopes that enforced regulations will ensure the safety and quality of such cultivation centers and dispensaries, including the safety in the experience of entering certain facilities will be increase to ensure the best overall experience, outside of the euphoria provided from the medicinal cannabis. Cannabis collectives will ensure the cleanliness and safety standards of their facilities are up to par with Health Inspectors and any department the State sends their way. Collectives understand that legalization looming in November 2016 will open the floodgates to an increased consumer market so safety will play an increased role as collectives will be selling the dispensary experience as well as cannabis products.

Legalization will no doubt increase clientele and catapult the cannabis industry, providing many jobs and opportunities for people, and of course the much needed boost to California’s economic status. Socially, Cannabis has come a long way from the dark stigmas previous generations held against the herb. A journey that does not need to be tarnished by unethical methods of practice, laziness, or fall victim to cuts in cost of production. The best cultivators know quality will sell, for higher prices that people will pay. The demand of cannabis will no doubt create competition amongst growers, and that same consumer base will demand quality and quantity. With more exposure to the public cannabis collectives will be pumping in as much green as they can push out, creating a green rush that will not only boom local and state economies, but will increase the number of customers, regulars, and aficionado’s. The power is in the hands of the Consumers and together with the Cannabis industry success will be cultivated organically. Consumer Californians are a people who are educated, health conscious, who know quality and demand quantity; definitely a culture familiar with the green.

 

About Robert Lara

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Robert Lara studies at the University of San Francisco, College of Arts and Sciences, Political Science program. Robert has chosen FootballandFutbol.com and Baysportsreport.com as his outlets to give back to the Sports Communities, Foreign and Domestic. Robert is a proud United States Navy Veteran, and also the Co-Founder and Public Relations Officer for the United Veterans of USF.

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