Becoming an engaged citizen as cannabis laws are formed can potentially save businesses and lives. Yet there has been little to no public effort to use the technologies that have come about as the prohibition era begins to wane. We’re all aware that there is a clear difference between the potency of standard cannabis products that were produced a decade ago compared to that of the same standard product made today. That said, it’s evident that we’ve changed the entire landscape of the cannabis industry with the aid of our beloved tech.
Of course, higher potency products are sought after, however we haven’t really taken any steps to incorporate the innovations of technology into our upcoming laws concerning cannabis. So, with as many leaps and strides as we’ve made in the right direction, we should be realizing every day that we’ve experienced just as many shortcomings.
As a result of a cultural focus on THC and potency in general,
there have been a lot of scares in the industry, especially since the trend of
legalization and commonly occurring decriminalization began. Yet these media scares
have served as some of the foundations for establishing regulations and
compliance policy, thus we can still benefit from our mistakes. Just to note a
few examples: the edible vs. candy crisis (as it relates to accidental child
consumption/abuse), home extraction labs exploding, people’s lungs collapsing
after dabbing poorly made extracts, and illegitimate cartridges causing a lung
disease outbreak. But bear in mind that these all have been potentially
beneficial mishaps in the long run.
How have public scares helped the industry?
It’s a subtle truth that most laws are founded on the concepts
of laws which other governments have already implemented. And the tendency to
lean towards experience over innovation is an ominous element of our legal
system. Thus, today we may ask ourselves, “With all the progress we’ve
made in growing, extraction processes and overall cultivation/manufacturing,
why do we still have so many issues?”
It’s simple! If there is no uniform regulation, then there is no
reason for manufacturers to maintain any uniformity. Fully legal companies may
currently manufacture in multiple states, and without one governing body to
hold the producers consistently accountable there are going to be opportunities
for differences in the products.
Things happen, and even the best of companies can fall on hard
times and have to substitute or replace a couple of ingredients. However,
depending on whether or not your state has legislation acknowledging these
chemicals and technology, this occurrence can translate to an adjustment that
is harmless and fully compliant, or it can expose you to a number of unforeseen
chemicals and health threats.
In the absence of law, the media will have ample ammo to claim
whatever they please.
Without a law that addresses technological innovations, the
media can distort canna-community mishaps such as the ones previously
mentioned. Regardless of whether you watch network(s) X, Y or Z, your viewing
of their broadcast and advertisements is a metric that affects how they get
paid. So, don’t waste time getting upset at the media for seeing an opportunity
for a big story, especially when something illegal explodes or a minor is
accidentally intoxicated. Only by being thoroughly engaged citizens can we make
certain that laws account for all innovations made in the industry. And in
doing so, we can prevent any media outcries calling for deeming and damning
regulations on products/processes that are safely used by many.
However, legalization alone does not make the government a
guarantor of accountability and product safety. It’s a responsibility of ours,
as citizens and consumers, to help and inform our local governments during the
creation of cannabis laws. As foolhardy as it may seem to get involved with
your governing body’s law formulation, it is one of the most important aspects
of being a citizen. It is also likely that we as consumers are more educated
and concerned about this topic than they are. So, if the truth is to be known,
then it may be our burden to make sure our governments hear it.
That said, until there is one nationally upheld legal guideline
for cannabis, there is always going to be room for unethical practices. Granted,
there are a few state governments and many canna-producers who are currently
implementing a product compliance and labeling system, and both the states and
the manufacturers residing within them do deserve praise for setting the
example for the rest of the nation. Assuming one lives in such a state, the
chance of product mishandling is greatly diminished, however it is still a
possibility for someone in said state to purchase a potentially skewed product
legally (i.e. improperly dosed edibles, or cartridges using coconut oil).
What should we do about it?
Only we the people can guarantee that advances and innovations are made in the legal and scientific communities. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to ensure that tech and law be incorporated into one another. For example, when making cannabis/CBD/hemp laws, consider requiring that each product has a unique QR code (a small graphic that can quickly act as a link to a webpage, image, lab analysis or ingredients sheet) which links to a certificate of analysis for each batch made. There are many cannabis and CBD companies using QR codes already, however most of them link to the company’s website and not an analysis sheet. And that can cause frustration for the consumer and bud-tender, each attempting to weave in and out of a website to see what is actually in a product. A few states have already brought these QR requirements into their laws, however the grey areas of the industry make it very easy for non-compliant companies to penetrate and then leave a market before any inadequacies are even noticed. Only by caring enough to know what’s happening in the legal world and voting thereafter, can we achieve real progress in developing an accountability system that all parties can use safely and systematically.