Washington Needs Consistency When it Comes to Cannabis Pesticides Rules

Summary and opinion by Wendy Anderson

Since legal cannabis sales have been allowed in Washington, the state has fined two marijuana growers and suspended the license of two others for using unapproved pesticides. In comparison to Denver, which has recalled 19 pot products in the past 19 weeks for unapproved pesticides.

So should the people of Washington who are consuming these cannabis products be concerned about this? Shouldn’t this be more of a regulated system since it is in such high demand?

Professors such as Dave Stone at Oregon State University say there’s just not enough data. “The most important thing I’d communicate to the public is we don’t know, and you need to know that,” he said. Stone is the director of The National Pesticide Information Center.

In Colorado pesticide testing is required, but there are no certified labs to handle those tests. Denver’s health department believes cannabis should be recalled if it’s a risk to the public. 

Apparently there is much yet to discover since research that is abundant for pesticides in foods is much less when it comes to what happens when chemicals are heated and inhaled. A void caused by the federal prohibition of marijuana, which also keeps the EPA from setting safe levels for pesticides in cannabis.

Washington has approved a 25-page list of pesticides for the medical/recreational marijuana industry; however the state hasn’t approved testing yet because it’s expensive and complicated.

Myclobutanil is a fungicide used on grapes, but when heated to a certain point it turns to cyanide gas. The federal government forbids its use on tobacco and Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis board considers it an unapproved pesticide.

Myclobutanil was found at the growing facility of New Leaf Enterprises last year. They were handed a $2,500 fine, but were still allowed to keep putting out their products. So no one knows just how much of the product got around or how much damage the pesticide could have done. Apparently it was growing into the mother plants.

Many shops are pulling the affected grower’s products from their shelves, or holding them until they know that they are approved. Some don’t even sell the products based on the knowledge of them using unapproved pesticides.

It seems like it’ll be more expensive to be running the pesticide division like this in the long run, putting people’s health at risk, instead of just taking the full measures into account to be safe.

Read the full article here.

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