GMP: What Licensed Cannabis Producers Need to Know

Have you been hearing about GMP, but you’re not sure what it is? Or perhaps you know what GMP is, but aren’t sure if it’s something you need to follow. No problem! Here’s a quick primer to get you started.

What is GMP?

GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practices. In other words, it’s a set of rules and procedures related to the handling, cleaning, quality assurance and packaging processes in manufacturing facilities and the products they make. Many countries, including Canada, the United States, the European Union and Australia, have legislated that food and pharmaceutical manufacturers follow GMP procedures to ensure that a food or drug product is safe for human consumption.

What does GMP have to do with the cannabis industry?

Whether the cannabis is being grown and produced for local (in-state or in-country) consumption or for export abroad, virtually all cannabis legislation requires some level of production quality assurance. It’s not always GMP, but GMP is the standard that pharmaceutical companies need to apply to the production of their medicines and the production of medical-grade cannabis is no different. The application of GMP to the harvesting and production of cannabis means the end-user can be sure that what they buy is safe to consume and that it is consistent each time they buy it.

What are the consequences of not applying GMP?

While it’s true that in many jurisdictions there are no GMP requirements for cannabis products, it’s almost certain that in the future, cannabis regulations will require GMP certification for Licensed Producers (LPs) to receive and maintain their license. Even now, sales opportunities may be lost by not maintaining GMP certification. More and more consumers will expect to see the certification on the product they buy. For business to business cannabis sales, many LPs are already requiring GMP certification from any other LPs they buy product from.

Who do I contact to start my GMP certification process?

If you’re located in Canada, you’ll need to work with Health Canada’s Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate. As cannabis is not yet federally legal in the United States, GMP certification through the US Food & Drug Administration is not available, but more information on their GMP requirements can be found here: FDA cGMP Regulations.

Can I use cannabis trimming machines in a GMP-certified environment?

In the past, one of the major obstacles for an LP that wanted GMP certification was the cannabis trimming process, mostly because the hoses and dust collection components of the equipment were nearly impossible to clean and potentially carried contamination from one batch to the next. With the Mobius Trimmer M108S, we set out to design a cannabis trimming system that could be operated, cleaned and put back into operation with minimal fuss. Here’s how we did it:

  • All plant-touching parts of the M108S are smooth and made of non-toxic, corrosion resistant, non-reactive materials, capable of withstanding repeated cleaning;
  • All plant-touching parts of the M108S are accessible and/or removable for cleaning and can be effectively cleaned with non-toxic detergents or just water alone;
  • The M108S does not have any hoses or hidden parts, which are exceptionally difficult to clean and have the potential to harbor microorganisms;
  • The M108S is a semi-closed system that generates minimal airborne particulate because the system separating the trim from the flower is built into the machine; and
  • SOPs for the M108S are simple and straightforward, ensuring consistency in operations and products.

If you want to learn more about GMP, read our follow-up posts:

 Or visit our page all about GMP certification for cannabis-related businesses.

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