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May 19, 2023

The Future of Legalized Cannabis and Management of the Cannabis Supply Chain in Latin America

Woman Growing Cannabis

On May 18, UL Standards & Engagement (ULSE) hosted the webinar, The Future of Legalized Cannabis and Management of the Cannabis Supply Chain in Latin America. Experts from the UL enterprise, Uruguay’s Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCAA), and the Ecuadorian Institute for Standardization (INEN) presented on standards to support the cannabis industry and discussed initiatives already underway to help improve the quality of cannabis products and safety requirements for production facilities.

UL Standards for cannabis in the US and Canada

Andrew Pottier, lead regulatory engineer at UL Solutions, presented on the history of cannabis legalization in Canada and discussed how the country’s experience provides insight into how the cannabis industry can continue to improve. ULSE Standards Technical Committee (TC) Chair Laura Werner provided further details as she presented standards that relate to the cannabis industry. Werner presented CAN/ULC-S4400, the Standard for Safety of Premises, Buildings and Equipment Utilized for the Cultivation, Production and Processing of Cannabis, the first cannabis standard published in Canada, and explained how its requirements for devices, equipment, and systems address the risks of fire, electric shock, explosion, and injury to persons. She also explained how the Standard’s security requirements help protect facilities from intrusion and infiltration, while providing considerations for secure access and safe egress.

Laura Werner
Laura Werner
Technical Committee Chair
UL Standards & Engagement

"Stakeholders in the cannabis industry are strong advocates for a safer, regulated industry backed by standards. As they continue to develop treatments for individuals dealing with issues like chronic pain and epilepsy, or nausea from chemotherapy, Standards like these can help to establish the regulatory framework necessary for the industry to operate safely and effectively.”


Werner also reviewed Standards that address the safety of production equipment. In her presentation of ANSI/CAN/UL 8800, the Standard for Horticultural Lighting Equipment and Systems, she noted how requirements for lighting systems used in indoor growing facilities were developed to help avoid potential hazards associated with human eye and skin exposure to this type of light technology. In discussing ANSI/CAN/UL/ULC 4402, Standard for Indoor Air Quality in Buildings and Facilities Utilized for the Cultivation, Production and Processing of Cannabis, Werner explained ongoing revisions to the Standard that would restrict the use of unvented combustion appliances, which are currently used to increase carbon dioxide (CO2) in growing facilities, but are also known to produce carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), putting workers at risk. Additionally, while reviewing ANSI/CAN/UL/ULC 1389, the Standard for Plant Oil Extraction Equipment for Installation and Use in Ordinary (Unclassified) Locations and Hazardous (Classified) Locations, Werner noted how requirements for cannabis processing equipment (like trimmers, deseeders, dryers, extraction equipment, and vacuum ovens), helps equipment manufacturers understand and adhere to best practices for design and construction, while also protecting consumers by providing a resource that engineers and other professionals can use to verify equipment safety.

Standards efforts in Latin America

In her presentation on the development of UL safety standards for cannabis, UL Solutions Program Manager Theresa Espejo explained how the organization works with international standards development organizations (SDOs) such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create standards that accommodate the specific needs of countries around the world.

Sebastían Eirea, technical director of IRCCA, presented on Uruguay’s approach to standardization for the cannabis industry, highlighting the country’s regulatory framework that helps to improve the quality of cannabis products. Evelyn Andrade, standardization specialist at INEN, discussed how Ecuador has implemented standards to comply with safety requirements in the cannabis industry.

To participate in the ongoing development of safety standards for the cannabis industry, learn how you can get involved.