Kimberly Stuck would definitely have been welcome at my college’s career day. Not only does she have an interesting job as the marijuana specialist for the Denver Department Of Public Health And Environment, but she’s the first cannabis-focused specialist for a public health authority in the whole country. Her goal is to evaluate marijuana products—both smokable and edible—and make sure they’re in the clear when it comes to food safety rules.
This profile of Stuck from the always-scintillating publication Food Safety News explains how she became the city’s marijuana specialist following a previous job as a Denver public-health inspector. Her current role is especially important in a new industry that’s still learning what the rules are; she says that many states, despite legalizing medicinal or recreational marijuana, still don’t have regulations about food safety when it comes to edibles. This is surprising—to me, at least—considering edibles are, you know, edible. I guess I’d always assumed that the same food-safety regulations, like safe manufacture and handling, applied. Apparently, not so.
“It’s the Wild West out here. It’s crazy,” Struck told Food Safety News.
The article points to major food-safety issues that could arise in untested edible marijuana products, including mold and chemical residue on cannabis buds, pest infestations, and unsafe employee handling.
“There should be a public outcry about this,” said Stuck, referring to states that don’t have public-health regulators overseeing their marijuana industries.
The Food Safety News piece is a fascinating profile that pulls back to look at much larger issues in this emerging industry; why not give it a read?