Over the years, we’ve pointed out when federal agencies opt to ignore the federal illegality of cannabis. It happens more often than you might think depending on the topic (see, for example, the NLRB). One agency, though, that has surprisingly never lifted a finger against state-legal cannabis–though it is taking a closer look at CBD–is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
It is bad public policy when no federal watchdog is looking out for cannabis consumers (many millions of people) or scrutinizing the quality of cannabis products overall, and/or going after bad actors to deter bad behavior. To date, it’s truly been “buyer beware” outside of states putting together their own protocols on things like recalls, packaging and labeling safety standards, quality assurance reviews, and testing. None of this is approved or sanctioned by the feds, like it oftentimes is for other industries. As such, the states are literally making up cannabis consumer safety as they go along; and products liability suits (and at least one wrongful death suit) have manifested over the years. See here for our various posts on these topics.
Cannabis testing, itself, has also been problematic in a variety of states where no gold standard exists