There has been a surge in demand for medical and recreational cannabis products since Canada federally legalized adult access to recreational cannabis in 2018. This rapid growth presented challenges with respect to the safety, security and sustainability of buildings, premises, facilities and operations handling cannabis. In response, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and UL Solutions partnered to help establish guidelines for this new and emerging business. UL led the initial proposal and SCC facilitated and supported its advancement.
In November 2020, SCC and UL hosted an ISO International Workshop (ISO IWA 37) which covered three distinct areas: safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations. Over 200 people from 22 countries participated in the workshop. Participants included supply chain entrepreneurs, cannabis producers, engineering and consultancy firms, regulators, government policy makers, and scientists. This marked the first step towards ensuring the quality and safety of this emerging industry.
“SCC is proud to call UL a partner on this journey of collaboration with many of the world’s top experts in cannabis production,” says Chantal Guay, CEO of SCC. “This path forward is an exciting step in ensuring industry best practices are leveraged to protect the health and well-being of consumers while helping businesses worldwide access new markets.”
There are now three International Workshop Agreements published as a result of this workshop, which provides guidelines and best practices in the following areas:
- ISO IWA 37-1:2022, Safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations - Part 1: Requirements for the safety of cannabis buildings, equipment and oil extraction operations
- ISO IWA 37-2:2022, Safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations - Part 2: Requirements for the secure handling of cannabis and cannabis products
- ISO IWA 37-3:2022, Safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations - Part 3: Good production practices (GPP)
Benefits for the Cannabis Industry Worldwide
Having clear and consistent guidance plays an important role in supporting this emerging industry. It strengthens the existing infrastructure of operations, deepens consumer confidence and helps businesses sustain their competitive edge worldwide. Through the collaborative efforts of all the participants, these documents will help bring conformity to this emerging market as more countries consider the legalization of cannabis.
“Governments, authorities having jurisdiction, regulators and code-making bodies grappled with the lack of consistent rules and guidance. Generally, regulations are built up over time and as technologies changed, the standards also evolve to meet an industry’s current needs. However, when an industry is new, there's little to go on. Regulations have to play ‘catch up,’” explained David Lefebvre, country manager for UL Solutions of Canada.
Canada has worked hard to be a well-respected player in the cannabis industry. Through the standardization network, we look forward to further collaboration between stakeholders representing Canadian cannabis expertise and innovation, and our international peers, to stay responsive to this budding industry.
About the Standards Council of Canada
Since 1970, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) has helped make life safer, healthier, more prosperous and sustainable for people, communities and businesses in Canada through the power of standardization. SCC works with a vast network of partners nationally and around the world, acting as Canada’s voice on standards and accreditation on the international stage, including as a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
As the country’s leading accreditation organization, SCC creates market confidence at home and abroad by ensuring conformity assessment bodies meet the highest expectations. In all these ways, SCC opens a world of possibilities.
About UL Solutions
A global leader in applied safety science, UL Solutions transforms safety, security and sustainability challenges into opportunities for customers in more than 100 countries. UL Solutions delivers testing, inspection and certification services, together with software products and advisory offerings, that support our customers’ product innovation and business growth.
The UL Certification Marks serve as a recognized symbol of trust in our customers’ products and reflect an unwavering commitment to advancing our safety mission. We help our customers innovate, launch new products and services, navigate global markets and complex supply chains and grow sustainably and responsibly into the future. Our science is your advantage.