Setting high standards for Canadian cannabis

SCC, the ISO member for Canada, says that standards are essential for an effectively regulated marijuana market.

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Barnaby  Lewis
Por Barnaby Lewis
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In 2018 Canada passed the federal Cannabis Act. That made it the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to legalize the cultivation, possession and consumption of cannabis and related products.

Much has changed since that time: legal cannabis can be grown with restrictions, purchased and used for medical and recreational purposes in Georgia, Malta, Mexico and South Africa as well as some parts of the USA. These changes are in addition to the 28 countries that already allow the use of medical cannabis. Similar amendments to cannabis legalization are under consideration in many other countries across the globe.  

The pace of change can be hard to keep up with and, finding themselves in new territory, many cannabis entrepreneurs and businesses have been uncertain about the real-world application of laws and the best way to address questions of quality, traceability and security.

Facing unprecedented challenges, many in the industry are in need of clear guidance to help them stay on the right side of the new law and to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. That's when SCC stepped in to propose comprehensive guidance to reassure businesses, cannabis afficionados, and regulators alike. 

Whilst federal regulations in countries like Canada stipulate requirements for the control and security of drugs and help provide some consumer protection, cannabis-specific guidance is necessary to fully address safety concerns. Over 200 experts volunteered their time to participate in the creation of much-needed guidance on the safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations. The IWA, which has the potential to be further developed into an International Standard, addresses an international concern in novel ways, and has major ramifications worldwide. 

ISO's ground breaking guidance for the cannabis sector has just been published in three parts:

  • ISO IWA 37-1:2022, Safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations – Part 1: Requirements for the safety of cannabis buildings, equipment and oil extraction operations
  • ISO IWA 37-2:2022, Safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations – Part 2: Requirements for the secure handling of cannabis and cannabis products
  • ISO IWA 37-3:2022, Safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations – Part 3: Good production practices (GPP)

Taken as a whole, these documents provide invaluable direction to legislative bodies and emerging companies and help to create a safe, legal market for adults who use cannabis.

Barnaby Lewis
Barnaby Lewis