When you hear the term “GMP Facilities,” what comes to mind? Is it the place where artists go to use nonconventional editing software? Or are we talking about Forrest Gump?
The answer is… NONE OF THE ABOVE.
What is GMP?
GMP is an abbreviation for “Good Manufacturing Practices (or Processes).” In essence, a company or facility that is labeled as “GMP” has been standardized to meet the best-known criteria for production of a particular thing. In the case of cannabis, that means up to date facilities using the best science available and the cleanest cannabis possible.
The GMP label represents a trend towards standardization in the cannabis industry. It wasn’t that long ago that the banned pesticide myclobutanil was found contaminating Canadian cannabis. In an industry seeking to distance itself from its gray market past, these kinds of mishaps are huge steps backward.
Now companies such as Bedrocan seek to put their best foot forward and publicly embrace the idea of GMP production. This signals to consumers and retailers that their cannabis is intended to be clean and safe for the end user. And that matters when cannabis is being used as medicine.
How does GMP affect me as a producer?
As a producer, GMP practices represent a movement towards standardization and cleanliness in the industry. It signals to both retailers and consumers that your products are grown to the best available knowledge in the industry.
But how do you get a GMP certification? Glad you asked, hypothetical grower.
GMP Certifications are granted by government agencies in charge of overseeing your particular industry. Depending on where your company is stationed, GMP certifications for cannabis may or may not be available. For example, in many locations in the United States, GMP certifications are not yet ready because the FDA cannot do anything about cannabis currently.. If you’re in Canada, you can reach out to the Inspectorate and start working on your certification.
Governments that offer GMP Certification should have a list of guidelines for what needs to be observed to obtain the certification. In general, GMP Certification aims for the following high-level goals (Credit to Wikipedia):
- Any manufacturing facilities must be hygienic and regularly cleaned.
- The manufacturing facilities must prevent cross-contamination from any substance that might make the product unsafe for human consumption.
- All manufacturing processes must be clearly defined and controlled.
- Any alterations in your processes must be reevaluated
- All employees must be trained to carry out and document routines and procedures.
- Tracking records must indicate that all steps were followed properly. Any deviation from the norm must be investigated.
- Records of the manufacturing and distribution must be complete so that any product can be traced back to its source.
- Distribution of goods must minimize any risk to their quality. For example, refrigerated shipping will reduce deterioration of consumable products.
- Manufacturers must have a system in place in the event that any batch is recalled.
- Appropriate measures must be taken with respect to the defective products and to prevent recurrence.
How does GMP affect me as a consumer?
As a consumer, GMP practices guarantee a certain level of safety and cleanliness for you. The next joint you roll, the next vape you take a hit off of, the next bong rip should be safe. If it’s not, then you have a system in place to make complaints. There is a government agency that oversees the products being produced.
In other words, we’re moving away from the days when you had no recompense if “your guy” cheated you and cut your weed with something not so healthy, or they grew it with a ton of pesticides. GMP-certified companies indicate that they are devoted to your safety, and if they fail, they will face the consequences for their failure. This is great news for the industry.
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About the Author
Hunter Wilson is a community builder with Growers Network. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2011 with a Masters in Teaching and in 2007 with a Bachelors in Biology.