OLYMPIA, WA — State officials in Colorado and Washington say they are struggling to prepare health and safety guidelines for recently legalized recreational marijuana.
Marijuana, like other agricultural commodities, is subject to mold, mites and pesticide residue in raw form, and salmonella and other safety risks in prepared form.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will not offer advice on health and safety standards because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, requiring state officials to set up a framework for policing an entirely new industry.
“It’s important for us to do this, because it’s public safety and there’s no U.S. FDA oversight,” said Randy Simmons, the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s project manager in charge of implementing Initiative 502, the referendum that legalized marijuana in the state. “Things that would be FDA rules don’t exist.”
Producers of marijuana-infused foods and drinks for the medical marijuana industry are already making their own guidelines.
Tripp Keber of Denver’s Dixie Elixirs and Edibles says his line of pot-laced mints, candies and sodas already adhere to federal quality standards.
“Anyone can make a pot brownie, but fewer can make a dozen. Even fewer can make 5,000 with the same consistency,” he said.