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Panel: A Scientific Perspective on Cannabis Compliance

Watch a replay and catch highlights from the scientific panel, part of the Focus On: Quality Assurance virtual summit

May 22, 2024  By Grow Opportunity Staff

May 15 Virtual Summit sponsored by High North and Canna Green Packaging. Photo: Annex Business Media

Watch the exciting hour-long discussion spanning testing compliance, cannabis export and packaging intricacies, while covering the dynamic QA role within Canadian cannabis licensed producers.

Moderator: Denis Gentler of Regulatory Innovator

Panelists: Nina Ackah, QAP, Freedom Cannabis and C-45 board member; Tom Ulanowski chair of C-45 quality association and co-founder of Quantify Environmental Ltd.; and John Slaughter, CEO, High North Laboratories.


Panel outline:

Industry standards and challenges with Health Canada’s regulations.

  • Associations such as C-45 provide platforms for industry to voice their concerns and advocate for change, far more than a single voice or complaint.
  • Emphasizing the importance of validation and accreditation in cannabis testing and the need for internal comparison and confidence in test results.
  • Panelists stressed the importance of LP verification of validation reports from supplier labs before releasing products, and maintaining copies of those reports on file for audits and internal record keeping.

“And so I think as a takeaway is people should join associations like ours like others, because they have an impact, much, much larger than complaining on Twitter or LinkedIn right? So I think that’s that’s the key takeaway is join an association. Focus on a few topics and continue that kind of engagement because if you don’t, no one’s gonna listen to you.” – Tom Ulanowski

Quality assurance and compliance in the cannabis industry includes standardization, testing and export formalities.

  • Labs can assist with verifying authenticity when faced with COA manipulations of any kind.
  • The challenges of export revolves around testing and compliance requirements, and other operational challenges along with building relationships with buyers.
  • Choosing the right country and broker for exports is imperative for streamlined product distribution.
  • Reaching out to a helpful client care team can provide valuable insights and relationships for product success.

Packaging and testing for exports focuses on standards and relations.

  • This is the crux of product quality and the avoidance of contamination.
  • Lighter packaging results in cost savings when shipping, however glass packaging could be used domestically.
  • Panel members weigh in on the future of testing, calling for international standards and regulations while addressing public health concerns.
  • Health Canada could make ISO 17025 accreditation compulsory for all cannabis testing labs.
  • Review validation reports and testing methods from labs to ensure true ISO 17025 compliance for testing.
  • When exploring new export markets, thoroughly research country requirements and choose reliable in country partners.
  • Consider packaging or partially processing cannabis internationally to reduce costs when exporting.

Cannabis industry challenges, including regulations, taxation and product quality.

  • Experts urge the collaboration of companies who advocate for regulatory change.
  • The panel expresses frustration with the THC-focused cannabis industry, though recognizes the shifting tides towards lower THC and higher terpene products.
  • Excise tax reform will not come from Health Canada (so stop asking), though it is inconsistent in targeting only the federal portion of the total value collected from products.
  • CRA’s high taxes hurt small and medium-sizes cannabis businesses in Canada, and panelists warn about expecting tighter CRA scrutiny this year.
  • CRA is revoking licenses of companies with unpaid excise taxes.
  • Panelists highlight the importance of a healthy cannabis marketplace and a diverse economy with a diverse sector – not just three large corporations.


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