More states than ever are legalizing marijuana for both recreational and medical use. But it remains illegal at the federal level, which means the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not responsible for regulating the production of cannabis edibles.

In this blog from ImEPIK, we’ll take a deeper look at the state of cannabis edibles and the FDA and discuss what you may expect when marijuana becomes legal at the federal level.

What Does the FDA Do? Is it Responsible for Cannabis Edible Regulation?

The FDA is responsible for regulating food and drugs in the United States, though they primarily focus on drug enforcement, relying on food producers to hold themselves accountable.

A product like cannabis edibles may seem like a gray area. They are technically food and a drug, so they should be subject to FDA oversight, right? Wrong. The FDA does not regulate cannabis-infused products because they are illegal under federal law.

In other words, the FDA has no authority to regulate cannabis edibles or any marijuana product, including things like ingredients, preparation, and packaging. These rules must be made and enforced in states where recreational and/or medical cannabis products are legal.

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How Are Cannabis Products Regulated at the State Level?

While regulations vary from state to state, cannabis products and cannabis edibles are typically subject to the standards and regulations in the following areas:

  • Storage and cleanliness – How are the products processed, stored, and secured in the facility? Are they kept free of potential contaminants?
  • Testing – What laboratories test cannabis products? How is each batch of cannabis tested? How is consistency maintained between tests?
  • Laboratory certification – What accreditations does a laboratory need to have to guarantee the accuracy and consistency of its results?
  • Distribution – How do facilities track their products after production and deliver and distribute them to dispensaries and other stores?
  • Dosage consistency – Does each item have a limited serving size of THC and a uniform distribution of ingredients? How does the manufacturer verify this?
  • Packaging and labeling – Do labels provide the necessary information to patients and consumers? Are packages tamper-proof?
  • Education – How are facility workers trained on food safety practices? What resources are available to ensure cannabis edibles and products are processed safely?
  • Food safety measures – How does the state regulate food safety? What’s required of cannabis processing facilities? What emergency plans must be in place for the facility?
  • Waste disposal – How are waste products – such as bad batches or contaminated ingredients – handled safely to ensure proper disposal?

These regulations vary from state to state. If marijuana became legal at the federal level, the FDA would no doubt implement similar standards – but the primary difference would be that there would be no variation between states. State governments would turn oversight of cannabis edibles and other products over to the FDA exclusively.

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Prepare For the Future – Train Your Team on FDA Regulation With ImEPIK

It’s unclear when exactly cannabis will become federally legal – but with more states legalizing it every year, it’s likely that, at some point, the FDA will be responsible for regulating the production of cannabis and cannabis edibles.

This means that cannabis producers and labs must research and study FDA regulations to prepare for the future. Abiding by FDA regulations today will help you improve product quality and meet current state requirements. This will allow for an easier transition in the future if the FDA does take over as the primary regulatory body for cannabis products.

So don’t wait. Contact ImEPIK today. As experts in food manufacturing, we offer various training programs that meet FDA requirements and will help you improve the safety and quality of your cannabis edibles.