REGULATING THE SAFETY OF CANNABIS-INFUSED FOODS: ALTERNATIVES TO PROHIBITION –
Proposed regulations released by California’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch in April 2017 included a blanket prohibition on potentially hazardous foods (PHFs), including refrigerated products, low-acid canned foods, juices, perishable baked goods, meats, dairy, and seafood. As the MCSB prepares to release emergency regulations in November 2017, this paper seeks to inform an alternative solution that effectively regulates, rather than bans, cannabis-infused PHFs. A review of regulatory systems in Oregon and Colorado finds precedent for the effective regulation of cannabis PHF products, and a review of California’s existing regulatory structures for conventional foods finds that California already possesses the key resources necessary to effectively regulate cannabis food safety. This paper suggests that MCSB should emulate Oregon’s approach by applying California’s existing food safety framework to the regulation of cannabis PHFs.