Medical marijuana and meat, USDA targets edibles

As medical marijuana programs open up new industries, employment and business opportunities in the states that employ them, an increasingly lucrative business has been found in the edible market: THC-infused candy, soda and baked goods often occupy a shelf in dispensaries. But with the wealth to be made, enormous organizations with long-standing arms in the government’s legislature are fighting to reap the benefits of selling such a sound product. Big Pharma’s attempts at pharmaceuticalizing marijuana in Michigan and Arkansas have shed light on their modern attempts at wealth through the exploitation of cannabis, and this week the USDA has added itself to the roster of institutions taking stabs at the industry.

In Colorado, Benjamin’s Edibles faces the withdrawal of its THC-infused beef jerky from the shelves of dispensaries due to a USDA regulation that prohibits the sale of meat products infused with additives not approved by its institution. As a result, personnel of Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division have begun to remove the aforementioned products though they have refused to comment on the details of their rationale and investigation.

Part of the duty of the USDA is to monitor the safety of food in tandem with the Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration, and its regulations maintain that it has the power to legally approve or deny the additives in food products, and though their statutes do not expressly include marijuana, they are purportedly using the implied inclusion of its compounds as leverage. The sudden enforcement of this regulation as well as federal marijuana policy adds to the speculation surrounding legislators’ and lobbyists’ true intentions.

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