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ANSI Legal Issues Forum 2019: Experts Discuss Standardization and Legalization of the Cannabis Industry


On November 6, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) convened two panels of legal and industry experts to engage with ANSI members and guests about standards and the cannabis industry during the Legal Issues Forum, an annual event held during World Standards Week in Washington, DC. The event kicked-off with a keynote address from Heather Krug, Colorado's State Marijuana Laboratory services program manager, who spoke about how Colorado has navigated practical and legal challenges encountered during the implementation of retail sales of marijuana, industrial hemp, and medical marijuana.

The Forum's first panel of four experts reviewed the current legal landscape and some of today's challenges with regard to compliance, banking, workforce, fire safety, and the definitions that distinguish "hemp" and "cannabis." This panel was moderated by Kyle Sampson of King & Spalding, and included comment and discussion from Alexander Malyshev of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, Raymond Bizal of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Lezli Engelking of FOCUS, and Charles P. Rutherford of ASTM D 37 standards implementation for enterprise and oversight agencies. The discussion centered on the priority of public health and safety for workers, legal aspects of the cannabis/hemp business, the federal Controlled Substances Act, and the Money Laundering statutes, how the laws are evolving, and how they apply to standards development activities.

A second panel discussed ongoing action in the area of cannabis/hemp within testing communities, in keeping with the laws of their jurisdiction. Expert speakers included moderator Jeffrey G. Weiss of Venable LLP, Will Woodlee of Kleinfeld, Kaplan, & Becker, LLP, Stephen Arpie of Absolute Standards, Michael Kahn of MCR Labs, Matt Sica of the ANSI National Accreditation Board, and Rhiannon Woo of TraceTrust. The interactive discussion covered how standards, labeling, product potency, and specifically testing could contribute to the safe use of cannabis in different forms.

In his remarks, ANSI president and CEO Joe Bhatia welcomed the crowd of more than 130 guests noting that ANSI and its subsidiary-the ANSI National Accreditation Board-had announced plans to strengthen and expand accreditation activities relating to cannabis and cannabis-related productions.

ANSI offered 2.4 hours of continuing legal education credits available through the New Jersey Courts to the session's attendees who signed into the event and verified their attendance.

View photos from the Legal Issus Forum and other World Standards Week 2019 events.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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