Medical marijuana safety

CARSON CITY — Nevada medical marijuana law and regulations impose strict safety requirements for all products whether they will be inhaled, consumed, or applied topically. All batches of dispensary-sold medical marijuana must be screened for purity and tested for potency by a certified independent testing laboratory. Labels must be affixed on all products sold in dispensaries that disclose the amounts of active cannabinoids and terpenes, and other important information. Required quality assurance tests in Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 453A.654 can viewed here.

Nevada’s policy on allowable pest management is limited to minimum risk pesticides as determined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also known as the 25(b) list. Minimum risk pesticides pose little to or no risk to human health or the environment, according to the EPA.

According to NAC 453A.368, the independent testing laboratories must be able to determine from batches of harvested medical marijuana or medical marijuana products, the THC and cannabidiol concentrations, the presence and identification of molds and fungi, and the presence and concentration of fertilizers and other nutrients. If certain safety standards are not met, the batches fail and must be destroyed.

Since the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists marijuana on Schedule 1, very little scientific research is available. The Medical Marijuana Program and the Independent Laboratory Advisory Committee must determine best practices for cultivators and laboratories to ensure public health and safety.

The Nevada medical marijuana industry is in its infancy stage. Of the hundreds of establishments that earned provisional certifications last November, two cultivators are growing, four laboratories are ready to test, and one dispensary has its final certification. Although the dispensary is not yet open, it can acquire inventory, including marijuana from registered home-cultivator patients, which will also be laboratory tested.


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