Marijuana: THC-infused jerky being removed from dispensary shelves over USDA rule?

Categories: Marijuana

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The Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division confirms that an investigation is underway involving meat products infused with THC, the active ingredient of marijuana. In the meantime, multiple sources tell us that meat products like a jerky made by local firm Benjamin's Edibles are being removed from medical marijuana center shelves. Why?

Our sources within the medical marijuana industry tell us a similar story. According to them, the United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees food safety in this country, has established a rule against infusing meat and dairy products with THC. For this reason, MMED personnel have been removing such items from store shelves, starting this week.

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When asked about these assertions, Julie Postlethwait, MMED spokeswoman, declines to provide details, citing the ongoing investigation. Meanwhile, we've yet to hear back from the USDA, with which we've made multiple interview requests. However, the agency's fact sheet about meat and poultry features the following info, listed under the heading, "Who Monitors the Safety of Food Additives:"
Before any substance can be added to food, its safety must be assessed in a stringent approval process. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shares responsibility with FDA for the safety of food additives used in meat, poultry, and egg products. All additives are initially evaluated for safety by FDA.

When an additive is proposed for use in a meat, poultry, or egg product, its safety, technical function, and conditions of use must also be evaluated by the Labeling and Consumer Protection Staff of FSIS, as provided in the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Egg Products Inspection Act, and related regulations. Although FDA has overriding authority regarding additive safety, FSIS may apply even stricter standards that take into account the unique characteristics of meat, poultry, and egg products. Several years ago, for instance, permission was sought to use sorbic acid in meat salads. Although sorbic acid was an approved food additive, permission for use in meat salad was denied because such usage could mask spoilage caused by organisms that cause foodborne illness.

Additives are never given permanent approval. FDA and FSIS continually review the safety of approved additives, based on the best scientific knowledge, to determine if approvals should be modified or withdrawn.

While this section doesn't specifically mention THC or marijuana, the emphasis on the approval process would certainly seem to preclude them. After all, the federal government lists marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic, meaning that it has no recognized medical use.

Has the USDA written new regulations about THC-infused meat and dairy products? Has the agency simply decided that the time is now to enforce and apply mandates already in place? Or have local officials decided to take action using long-established USDA restrictions as a rationale? When and if we hear back from the USDA, we'll update this post.

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Like the USDA, representatives of Benjamin's Edibles have not returned requests for interviews, either. It's notable, though, that while Boulder Wellness Center still lists Benjamin's beef jerky on its online menu ("Beef Jerky, 100 mg, by Benjamin's Edibles, $10: Delicious teriyaki jerky!"), there's no such reference on the company's own website. At this writing, Benjamin's products are limited to vaporizers, apparel and "sweets" such as Family Jewels, a candy item.

Look for more information on this subject as it becomes available -- and feel free to share additional information in the comments section.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana dispensary review: Frosted Leaf on Federal."

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My Voice Nation Help

You know if government bodies would do what they are charged with (FDA) rather than waste time harassing sick people perhaps 23 people would not be dead of fungal meningitis. eh? eh?


Marijuana is a very healthy food if taken as an edible, not smoked. It is a gentle and safe way to handle pain. There is a great $2.99 e-book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Candies to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis, Second Edition. This book has great recipes for easy marijuana oil, delicious Cannabis Chocolates, and tasty Dragon Teeth Mints.  



This story is misleading and contains no factual basis. The author claims that multiple anonymous sources in the mmj industry have said that "meat products like a jerky made by local firm Benjamin's Edibles are being removed from medical marijuana center shelves". It should more accurately be written that these dispensary owners have *voluntarily* taken this product off of their shelves becasue they are worried about some wild rumors that even the press has not been able to substantiate.


To say that these products "are being removed" implied somebody, somewhere had the authority to do this. Since we do not know that to be the case, the article should clearly state that these actions ar  *voluntary* on the part of the dispensary owners, and they are being taken as a fear reaction to rumors that are spreading through the industry.


It is important to remember that the USDA may not be as kind as the DEA was in sending advance notice letters of criminal action against people who are providing marijuana for sale in violation of federal law. The USDA may just go "Old Skool" on us, and raid these dispensaries, without any courtesy warning letters. Until then, any dispensary that sells any kind of mmj food product should ASSUME that they are currently under investigation by the feds, and that the feds are being assisted by the MMED.


Another RED HERRING! If the FDA or USDA gets involved, they will shut down ALL cannabis-infused edible products. The fact that someone has started a rumor about an alleged "investigation" that the MMED can neither confirm nor deny is the RED HERRING, meant to once again DIVIDE and CONQUER the mmj industry. Just like the dispensaries that weren't near a school breathed a false sigh of relief when other dispensaries near schools got letters from the feds, we have the same tactic used by the feds again. The dispensaries that don't sell THC-Jerky think their THC-cookies and THC-brownies are safe, and are breathing another false sigh of relief, while do nothing to help the other people who will be harmed by this "investigation."


Stand together, or die alone!

RobertChase topcommenter

How utterly ridiculous!  There is no scientific basis for supposing that the infusion of THC into meat or dairy products poses any kind of risk to patients whatsoever, and paying attention to this totally inappropriate obtrusion of Prohibition into food safety regulations is the most absurd niggling when everything that medical cannabis businesses do is a dire felony under a plethora of Federal laws.


Very interesting. Dairy too, eggs are in lots of stuff. I love me some medicated ice cream. We already ignore the ATF, DEA and IRS. Ignoring the USDA should feel norml.


Good thing this product has been available for a over a year.    I'm sure much of the product being sold was about that old.  And it's been well known that dairy and meat products have been pretty much banned because of the USDA. Too bad that despite MMED regulation you still can't trust your local dispensary.  Don't trust third party manufacturers.   If you think dispensaries are struggling think how bad business is for MIPs.   


 @JoE420 Does the USDA conduct raids by themselves?  In order for the USDA to "raid" they need the assistance of the DOJ, who is not interested, or the help of the local police, who are not interested.  


I do not see on the MMED site that they are not disallowing "infused meat products", can anyone confirm?


 @Disgruntled "If the FDA or USDA gets involved, they will shut down ALL cannabis-infused edible products."


No they won't... they won't shut down 'e cigarettes' or 'caviar' or 'ear wax' or ....


 @RobertChase Perhaps the USDA will conduct tests proving that cannabinoids are non-toxic.  Happy to volunteer for those studies.

michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @Monkey I'm guessing your spelling of that last word isn't a typo. Thanks for the post, Monkey.

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