The state Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) on January 4th issued their new year’s first technical bulletin “Process to Obtain Agency Approval for Production of Marijuana-Infused Beverages”. These regulations set rules for firms that intend on producing weed drinks to do so but under a new submission process that includes product testing to meet strict requirements.
Read more about the bulletin here.
Part of the bulletin explains that all marijuana-infused drinks should be stable for shelf storage and must be safe for ingestion. According to the USDA, shelf-stable products can be “safely stored at room temperature,” and do not require refrigeration until after opening.
While recreational marijuana was legalized in 2018, a preceding law forbids the sale or ownership of marijuana-infused alcoholic drinks such as wine or beer. However, it does not prevent producing and selling non-alcoholic cannabis beverages. Under the new bulletin, cannabis-infused spirits, wine, and beer are not allowed for sale at Marijuana Regulatory licensed facilities.
Michigan bars and restaurants for a brief period experimented with CBD (short for cannabidiol) infused beverages before health officials stopped their sale. Cannabidiol is usually found in cannabis, but it is also a helpful derivative. CBD from hemp is in topical and oil products. Michigan Food Law prohibits CBD oil to be added to food to be sold at restaurants. The bulletin now makes it clear what is allowed and what is not.
Already, several Michigan breweries have broken into the recreational marijuana market. Short Brewing Company in 2019 announced a collaboration with Green Peak Innovation to produce a CBD line and THC drinks and edibles that include sparkling water, gummies, lemonade, and cold brew coffee. The partners eventually hope to step up production to THC beers. A few weeks later, California-based nonalcoholic cannabis beverage producer, Two Roots Brewing Company, acquired Rochester Mills Productions Brewery. Two Roots intends on using this facility to increase cannabis drinks production and distribute them through a Michigan licensed cannabis company.
Companies interested in producing cannabis-infused beverages should conduct a THC-leeching study before releasing their products. Each product must have a THC total concentration that is not 15% above or below quantity since packaging. Further, if a product is studied for 9 months, and it is determined safe and stable, the expiration date label should not exceed 9 months.
Cannabis testing standards set in 2016 by Michigan were once considered the toughest in the country, which observers noted was a tactic to reduce competition in the testing niche, and it did. However, the testing standards have gone through several modifications in several ways to allow for larger batch testing. This step is favorable for contamination standards and helps in creating remediation procedures for harvests of cannabis that do not pass rigorous standards.
While any cannabis-infused beverage undergoes the same standards as other infused products, they have to undergo three more tests, according to the bulletin. Each beverage must be tested for Terpene, pH, and Homogeneity.
Expect to see an increase in cannabis-infused nonalcoholic beverages such as coffees, teas, and much more in Michigan real soon.