LAS VEGAS, Sept. 9, 2015 — DigiPath Labs, the cannabis testing subsidiary of DigiPath, Inc. (OTCQB: DIGP), recently expressed concerns that Puerto Rico’s new state-run medical cannabis policy does not include third-party safety testing, a crucial assurance to patients that their medicine is safe. In an interview with Caribbean Business journal, DigiPath Labs Chief Science Officer Cindy Orser, PhD, explains the need for consistent standards in cannabis testing and notes that the proposed Puerto Rican medical cannabis law, in its current form, fails to embrace the requirement for independent quality assurance.
Under a draft of the law released on July 21, the Department of Public Health would oversee Puerto Rico’s medical cannabis program, running all dispensaries, with the University of Puerto Rico growing all cannabis. The draft law has no provisions for quality assurance testing of the resulting product.
The proposed Puerto Rican law warns growers of marijuana that “the use of chemicals whose effects would directly or indirectly cause a public health risk, particularly to registered patients who will utilize said substance, is prohibited.” (Article 22, in Spanish). However, the law would not require safety testing, establish testing labs, or set safe levels of chemicals or other contaminants. The law would allow the Health Department to enter facilities to “perform chemical tests” at any time (Article 28, Section D3), but it does not explain what the tests would look for or how they would be administered.
Dr. Orser believes that the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Health Department should be commended for their bold executive action to legalize medical marijuana, which would provide patients with access to cannabis, but that the oversight for requiring the mandatory quality assurance and potency testing should be rectified in the near term. Many critics have found this lack of third-party validation and absence of specific safety standards troubling. Dr. Orser traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico and testified at a public hearing in front of the Health Department advocating for mandatory potency and quality assurance testing to ensure patient safety in the emerging cannabis industry in Puerto Rico.
“For instance, when the regulation talks about ounces of marijuana, it can vary dramatically from marijuana with a 5% psychoactive component to a type that has 25%,” explains Dr. Orser in the interview. “It should be standardized throughout the island.”
Dr. Orser says she is a strong advocate for the standardization of tests, especially since there’s an incredible variability among states regarding the required tests and the criteria they should use. She has been working closely with the State of Nevada to establish specific, stringent requirements for cannabis safety and potency testing, and she encourages Puerto Rico to adopt similarly strict regulations.
For more information about DigiPath Labs, go to http://digipathlabs.com/.
About DigiPath, Inc. (OTCQB: DIGP)
DigiPath, Inc., supports the cannabis industry’s best practices for reliable testing, education, and training, and brings unbiased cannabis news coverage to the nation. DigiPath’s three business units are DigiPath Labs, TNM News Corp., and DigiPath Corp.
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