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Oregon Switches Gears to Revive Cannabis IndustryBonnie King Salem-News.com Cannabis De-Classified
The OHA says the temporary rules provide relief for the industry while maintaining "public health protection".
(SALEM, Ore.) - The outcry has apparently been heard. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced today it is modifying testing standards for medical and recreational marijuana products with new, temporary rules that balance testing costs for the marijuana industry with public health protection for consumers.
According to those most affected, testing costs have driven up consumer prices, created product shortages, and caused some processors to actually cease operations (temporarily) and furlough employees just as the holidays are upon us.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown requested that the temporary rules be developed so producers and processors are able to test fewer samples, which should lower costs and create a more efficient process.
The temporary rules take effect TODAY, Friday, Dec. 2.
OHA is responsible for adopting testing standards for marijuana products that are necessary to protect public health and safety. These standards must take into account how the costs of testing will affect the cost to marijuana consumers.
Highlights of the temporary rules:
Replaces process validation with control study
Removes alcohol-based solvents from testing requirement
Combines some batches for testing
Changes variance for potency testing of edibles
Changes labeling for potency
Since OHA permanent testing rules became enforceable on Oct. 1, 2016, the marijuana industry has reported to regulating authorities that testing costs are driving up consumer prices, creating product shortages, and causing some processors to temporarily cease operations and furlough employees.
"The Governor has been clear about the importance of the marijuana industry to Oregon's economy," said Jeff Rhoades, marijuana policy adviser, Office of Governor Kate Brown.
"This approach keeps Oregonians employed, prevents marijuana product from slipping back into the illegal market, and continues to protect public health and safety."
Oregon labs have notified OHA of a total of 307 samples taken from marijuana products--from dried flower to extracts--that failed for either pesticides, solvents or both since Oct. 1, 2016.
Andre Ourso, manager of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program at OHA, says he's confident the temporary emergency rules will immediately alleviate some of the regulatory burden on the industry while still ensuring that cannabis is reasonably safe for consumers and patients.
"OHA understood the difficult situation that cannabis producers and growers were in with regard to the authority's Oct 1. testing regulations," Ourso said.
"OHA looks forward to working with the Governor's Office and its sister agencies in developing permanent testing rules in the near future that protect the public from harmful substances, such as illegal pesticides, yet allow for the cannabis industry to succeed in a robust regulatory environment."
For more information, visit the OHA website at: healthoregon.org/ommp.
Source: Oregon Health Authority
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