Consumers want reassurance. They want to be able to trust the products on the market and the companies that are selling it. When these concerns are alleviated, the culture around cannabis – and the stigma that continues to exist in the broader community – will shift.
And, that where NICHE’s new Cannabis Wise certification program can help.
Last month, we introduced a national Cannabis Accreditation Program, the first-of-its-kind in Canada. The Cannabis Wise program will recognize industry high performance in health and safety, and promote quality control, compliance with new laws and regulations, and responsible cannabis use.
The goal of the program is to create a trusted brand – one that provides reassurance for consumers and regulators.
For example, pesticide use is a concern for consumers. People want to know whether the product they are buying has been treated with banned pesticides. The companies certified under the Cannabis Wise program will be tested on quality and safety guidelines, including unauthorized pesticides, and will have to prove that they are committed to quality assurance throughout their day-to-day operations.
The voluntary program is being developed in collaboration with industry partners and will take a made-in-Canada approach. It will be based on similar accreditation programs underway in other industries, but will be designed specifically for Canada’s unique cannabis industry.
It will feature a pledge of performance from retailers and producers regarding twelve metrics that advance health, safety and quality control. It will develop nationally recognized standards and best practices that will help drive continual improvement in the industry and provide consumers, both new and old, with confidence in what they are buying.
NICHE has begun consulting on the Cannabis Wise program to gather feedback from leaders in the sector. The consultation phase is expected to be completed in early 2018, and the program will begin accepting applications by the end of April and issue certificates in time for legalization next summer.
Attitudes about cannabis are shifting. But, health and safety need to be first and foremost if the industry is going to thrive in the post-legalization era. By providing certainty for consumers, we will be in a better position to seize the opportunities in front of us.