Proponents of medical marijuana in Oklahoma have long welcomed reasonable testing requirements for cannabis. Now they have some. Emergency testing regulations went into effect on December 20, 2018. They affect medical marijuana processors that deal with food, said Tulsa medical marijuana attorney Stephen Cale.
The following is a general overview for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Also, laws and regulations change from time to time. So, if you have questions or need legal advice, or need medical marijuana consulting or auditing, call the Cale Law Office at 918-771-7314.
1. YOU DON’T HAFTA, BUT YOU OUGHTA
The Oklahoma Department of Health oversees the State’s medical marijuana program through the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA).
Within the emergency rules, the State Health Department adopted a best practice standard, said Tulsa medical marijuana attorney Stephen Cale. Specifically, it adopted the federal Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Plan (HACCP).
The agency said that it adopted this standard to “ensure that food is suitable for human consumption and that food-packaging materials are safe and suitable.”
Oddly enough, the rules don’t require processors to abide by the HACCP standard. Instead the new rules state that “[p]rocessors are encouraged to adopt a HACCP to help ensure compliance with existing Oklahoma food safety laws, particularly” rules concerning good food manufacturing processes.
By the way, the rules define what “food” is. Some of the things that fall within the definition of food include gum, edibles, beverages, and ingredient used for human consumption.
AND NOW, WHATCHA GOTTA DO
The Health Department also adopted mandatory rules – the things medical marijuana food processors must do. Let’s take a look.
2. REQUIRED TESTING PROCEDURES
Medical marijuana processors are now required to test food for:
- Solvent and chemical residue
- Pesticide residue
- Potency, and
- Contaminants and filth
3. HOW OFTEN TESTING MUST BE DONE
On a quarterly basis, processors must test “one lot of each type of edible medical marijuana product.”
4. WHAT TO DO WHEN EDIBLES GET AN “F”
The State Health Department has adopted certain content thresholds. The new rules require marijuana food processors to immediately reject or recall products that fail to meet the thresholds.
5. TESTING RECORDS
New rules now require marijuana food processors to keep all test results and related records for three years, said Tulsa medical marijuana attorney Stephen Cale.
6. ALLOWABLE THRESHOLDS | MICROBIAL TESTING
All marijuana food products must be tested for aerobic plate count. This is a measurement of bacterial populations on a sample.
7. E.COLI AND SALMONELLA
Product test results must validate that less than one colony forming unit (CFU) per gram of tested material is present for E. coli or Salmonella species. Otherwise, the product must be rejected and/or recalled.
8. SOLVENT AND CHEMICAL RESIDUE
Food products containing medical marijuana must be tested for the following solvents “to the maximum extent practical”:
- Acetone 1,000 ppm
- Benzene 2 ppm
- Butanes / Heptanes 1,000 ppm
- Hexane 60 ppm
- Isopropyl Alcohol 1,000 ppm
- Pentane 1,000 ppm
- Propane 1,000 ppm
- Toluene 180 ppm
- Total Xylenes (m, p, o-xylenes) 430 ppm
The test reports must state any solvents listed above that could not be tested for, said Tulsa medical marijuana attorney Stephen Cale.
Of Note: If the cannabis concentrate used to make an infused product is within established limits for solvents and chemical residue, then the infused product does not require additional testing for solvents and chemical residue.
9. HEAVY METALS
Tests for heavy metals must at least include lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. The test results must meet the following thresholds:
- Lead – maximum limit of 1 ppm
- Arsenic – maximum limit of 0.4 ppm
- Cadmium – maximum limit of 0.44 ppm
- Mercury – maximum limit of 0.2 ppm
Similar to solvent and chemical residue tests, if cannabis concentrate used to make an infused product is within established limits for metals, then the infused product does not require additional testing for metals.
10. PESTICIDE RESIDUE
Processors must also test all product batches for pesticides. Tests for pesticide residue must analyze samples for the presence of:
- Chlorinated hydrocarbons
Similar to other testing, if the cannabis concentrate used to make an infused product is within established limits for pesticides, then the infused product does not require additional testing for pesticides.
11. THC POTENCY
Processors must also test products for, and provide results of, total THC levels.
12. CONTAMINANTS AND FILTH
Processors must inspect all products for contaminants and filth. “Contaminants” include any biological or chemical agent, foreign matter, or other substances not intentionally added to products that may compromise food safety or suitability.
Processors must also document allowable thresholds for physical contaminants as part of the product test plan. Inspection requirements should be included in the operation’s product test plan for third-party testing, if applicable. The inspection records must indicate a continual process of physical inspection taking place.
ABOUT THE CALE LAW OFFICE
Tulsa medical marijuana attorney Stephen Cale is a Legal Committee member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). His practice focuses on medical marijuana law and criminal defense.