Montana’s Big Compliance Problem

With approximately 300 dispensaries operating in the state of Montana, we have a strong and growing marijuana presence in the medical market. These establishments offer a myriad of products, everything from raw flower, to distillates and extracts even edibles in all forms. This is an incredible improvement from the black days when all you could get was some flower and maybe some burnt cookies from your friendly neighborhood drug dealer.

Here’s the catch, most of these products are being produced in less than food safe environments, and crucial food safety and health codes are not being followed. This might just seem like making a big deal out of nothing but when it comes to contamination and safety standard the larger food industry has been following progressively more stringent food regulations since 1906 with the implementation of the pure food and drug act. The simple truth is we need these standards operating procedures and regulations in order to protect people from potentially extremely harmful contamination or chemicals.

The Marijuana industry is not following these standards in general, even though they are required to in the Administrative Regulations of Montana and the Montana Code Annotated many of the GMP (good management practices) are not being followed and consumable products are being produced in very questionable environments with little or no contamination controls. This isn’t just in Montana either but also the recreational market found in the rest of the country. Here are some photos talking about what I mean from both Montana providers and some providers in the rest of the country.

Colorado edibles company preparing edibles without hair nets
(Hair Nets?) (Colorado edibles company)

(Hair Nets?) (Colorado Edibles Company)

Extractor removes a sheet of THC concentrate from the oven without a hair net, beard net, and a window open
(no hair net, no beard net, window open)

(no hair net, no beard net, window open)

Putting a bare arm into a non-food grade bucket
(There is going to be a lot of skin cells and hair in that product not to mention the non-food grade bucket… Gross!)

(There is going to be a lot of skin cells and hair in that product not to mention the non-food grade bucket… Gross!)

These are just a few examples of some of the smaller mistakes to terrifying negligent breaches of food safety under GMP regulations, not to mention but some if not most of these are inhalants that will contact you soft tissue membranes or alveoli in your lungs.

It’s not completely there fault though, this is an industry that has never had regulations before, never had quality standards, never even had any form of oversite. But the Cannabis industry will need to adopt the same standards for quality control and food safety that the rest of the food and drug industry in the US have been dealing with for the past 100 years. It is important for these building companies to educate themselves on how to be a safe and sanitary producer of clean products.

Taylor Ange

Specializations: Extraction Processes Compliance Product development Taylor has maintained a passion for finding unconventional solutions for problems in the biology and medical fields. From a young age, he was heavily invested in the emergency medical industry as an active member of King County Search and Rescue in Washington State. Taylor attended college at the University of Montana as a terrestrial ecology major. As a field researcher and a lab technician with the US Forest Service, he conducted e-DNA testing on fluvial systems in Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. In the lab, he conducted mitochondrial DNA synthesis and analyzation which taught him how a large scale science and research laboratory is laid out and operated, along with what control measures are used for both personal and product safety. He has been involved in projects spanning beverage, cannabis fiber and extraction, and clean technology. He has been a part of developing various technologies including carbon dioxide reclamation equipment, hemp bioplastic formulations, and semi-autonomous control systems.

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