COMMENTARY: The legal cannabis market means better choice for consumers – Global News

Canada’s legal cannabis industry continues to make progress. Product shortages are decreasing. Store numbers are increasing. And edible cannabis regulations have just been finalized.With these basics falling into place, the industry and its regulators can focus more on competing with black markets. Product quality is one area where legal suppliers might have advantages. But to deliver good quality cannabis, producers must simultaneously aim for both careful science and carefree highs.This dual goal is partly due to government policy. Cannabis producers and products are federally regulated, much like pharmaceuticals. Health Canada oversees producer licences, package designs and medical cannabis sales.Meanwhile, cannabis retailing is provincially regulated, much as with alcohol. In Ontario, for example, one provincial agency runs wholesaling and online sales. Another handles retail licences and employee qualifications.READ MORE: Canada could hit cannabis oversupply as early as 2019, depending on ediblesPreventing defectsThis regulatory approach emphasizes conformance to rules and specifications. Such conformance quality helps prevent product defects and consumer harm.For example, cannabis producers must follow Health Canada’s Good Production Practices (GPP). These include testing to ensure products don’t contain pesticides or mould, but do contain the promised levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).Such testing should help legal products be more reliable than black-market ones. Indeed, some consumers have found their moderate-strength legal products provide the same high as their supposedly high-strength illegal ones did. Evidently, some illicit suppliers exaggerate their products’ attributes. They know they won’t be tested.Health Canada also requires producers and distributors to track all their cannabis. Each month they must report the amounts harvested, processed, or sold.Many organizations exceed these legal minimums. For instance, retailers aren’t required to test products. But Québec’s cannabis agency tests 10 products per supplier each month to confirm their contents.Similarly, some producers have adopted international quality standards like ISO 9000. Others have formed a cannabis industry quality association.WATCH BELOW: Cannabis taxes brought in $186 million since legalization

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