Amendments for California AB 266 were presented on August 17th, and once again California’s legislature has improved the language of the bill to promote better information and transparency for cannabis regulations.

California Statehouse

One of the primary changes proposed in this newest version of the bill is the establishment of strict laboratory requirements, including accreditation, employment checks, and operational procedures.

The following is breakdown of some of the new regulatory measures proposed in AB 266 (Article 10: Licensed Manufacturers and Licensed Laboratories).

Standardization of Licensed Testing Laboratories

The testing of medical cannabis and cannabis-infused products shall be conducted by a licensed testing laboratory that operates using the methods established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO/IEC 17020 & 17025).

The licensed testing laboratory must obtain product samples that are a statistical representation of the product batch.

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Laboratories shall analyze samples according to the most current version of the cannabis inflorescence monograph published by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Scientifically valid methods that are equal or superior to the methods in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia are also acceptable provided the Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing approves.

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If a test result falls outside of the authorized specifications, the licensed testing laboratory shall follow standard procedures to confirm or refute the original result.

Licensed testing laboratories must destroy the remains of medical cannabis samples upon completion of the test.

Licensing, Accreditation, and Employment

Licensed testing laboratories must follow methodologies and parameters for testing accreditation. Employees must also submit an application for employment to be checked for risks by the Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing.

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Laboratories must submit written notification to the Division upon hiring and firing of an employee. Terminated employees must not be able to access the laboratory facilities or information storage centers.

Licensed testing laboratories must be:

  • Registered with the Divison of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing.
  • Independent from all other persons or entities involved in the medical cannabis industry.
  • Accredited and licensed by the Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing.
  • Using established standardized operating procedures with adequate controls.

Testing Cannabis for Compounds and Contaminants

Licensed laboratory testing facilities shall issue a certificate of analysis with each batch, reporting the following compounds and contaminants:

Compounds

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THC-A)
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Cannabidiolic Acid (CBD-A)
  • The terpenes described in the most current version of the cannabis inflorescence monograph published by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Any other compounds required by the Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing.

Contaminents

  • Residual solvent or processing chemicals.
  • Foreign material, including, but not limited to, hair, insects, or similar or related adulterant.
  • Microbiological impurities, including total aerobic microbial count, total yeast mold count, P.aeruginosa, aspergillus spp., s. aureus, aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, or G2, or ochratoxin A.
  •  Whether the batch is within specification for odor and appearance.
  • Residual levels of volatile organic compounds shall be below the lesser of either the specifications set by the United States Pharmacopeia (U.S.P. Chapter 467) or those set by the Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing.
Lab Tests Determine Cannabinoid and Terpene Profiles

Lab Tests Determine Cannabinoid and Terpene Profiles

New Labeling Requirements for Cannabis Products

The newly proposed requirements for cannabis-infused product labels call for bold warnings to be displayed on all cannabis packaging. Before a cannabis product can leave the licensed facility in which it was produced, it must be placed in tamper-evident packaging that does not display any images or branding that would be attractive to children.

Examples of Older Cannabis Labels

Example of an Older Cannabis Label

There are also new requirements for the warning language used on each package. The following information must be printed in bold and legible fonts on all cannabis products:

  • Manufacture date and source.
  • The statement “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS.”
  • The statement “FOR MEDICAL USE ONLY.”
  • The statement “THE INTOXICATING EFFECTS OF THIS PRODUCT MAY BE DELAYED BY UP TO TWO HOURS.”
  • The statement “THIS PRODUCT MAY IMPAIR THE ABILITY TO DRIVE OR OPERATE MACHINERY. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION.”
  • Packages containing only dried cannabis flower must display the net weight of medical cannabis in the package.
  • A warning if the product was exposed to nuts or other known allergens during production.
  • List of pharmacologically active ingredients, including, but not limited to, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoid content, the THC and other cannabinoid amount in milligrams per serving, servings per package, and the THC and other cannabinoid amount in milligrams for the package total.
  • Clear indication, in bold type, that the product contains medical cannabis.
  • Identification of the source and date of cultivation and manufacture.
  • The date of sale.
  • Any other requirement set by the licensing authority.
  • Only generic good names may be used to describe edible medical cannabis products.

As you can clearly see, the future of cannabis product labels in California is going to be very interesting. These proposed requirements are going to take up a lot of space on the packaging, which used to be valuable branding space for cannabis producers. Now, warnings and product content information are going to dominate the available space for branded packaging.

Smoke Reports Offers Producers the Tools to Easily Adopt These Proposed Regulations

Smoke Reports believes the licensing of testing laboratories and the standardization of operating procedures will help bring medical cannabis into a more legitimate space. The mandatory warnings on packaging are going to demand a lot of alterations to the way the California cannabis industry currently operates. Requiring bold warnings, production details, potency results and food content information is a big step for cannabis product safety.

Smoke Reports gives producers the ability to condense a lot of these packaging requirements into a QR code, so that consumers and regulators can still access production and content details without sacrificing valuable branding space.

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The Smoke Reports QR code is unique for every product, all the way to the batch of creation. We codify the information using our Universal Cannabis Product Code (UCPC) system, which is capable of cataloging all of the content and production details into one easily accessible code.

Adopting the UCPC system and using the QR codes on cannabis product labels allows producers to provide consumers and regulators with easy access to a specific product’s lab test results, genetics of the cannabis used, the source and batch of the cannabis flowers infused into the product, and the location and date that the product was manufactured.

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Help Pioneer Legitimate Cannabis Industry Practices

Smoke Reports is building tools for cannabis consumers and businesses to be able to easily view specific cannabis product details. Transparency and consistency in cannabis production, lab testing, and packaging is clearly the future for the California medical cannabis community. You can reach out to us through our contact page if you would like more information on the cannabis technology that we offer.

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For the most up to date info on Smoke Reports, follow us on Twitter @smokereports or like us on our Facebook page. If you would like to learn more about California AB 266, please comment in the discussion section below, or reach out to us through our social media platforms.