Pot: Pesticides, a tale of three states

The Denver Post bought samples of marijuana products and had them tested for pesticide residue, which showed disturbing results. The city then stepped in and began testing, resulting in a lot of recalls. The “pure, organic, medical” claims growers were making weren’t true all the time.

But Colorado didn’t test marijuana, they didn’t have approved labs. They didn’t even test for THC content, which for the consumer is like buying a bottle of something claiming alcohol when it could be beer, wine, vodka, or everclear.

Washington included labs from the get-go, requiring licensed labs to test for content as well as filth, molds, insects, fungus, but not pesticides. Better, but then it was discovered (by a newspaper) that a lot of labs always passed their customers, there being no checks on what labs were doing. And they didn’t test for pesticides.

Oregon was watching and entirely without any state requirements labs appeared all over the state. Entrepreneurs were seeing the situation and jumping in before regulators would take control. They purported to test for everything, but I noticed some rather fishy numbers on the THC numbers. Oregon growers are good, but are they really that much better than Washington growers? If no one is testing labs, then how good are their results?

Usually these questions are dealt with by the USDA and EPA, which must keep hands off because the plant is off-limits for federal agencies. Leaving states on their own to figure it out.

Colorado is adding labs and licensing them, and is implementing a decent testing routine. Washington is putting in standards for what the labs actually do and will be checking them. Washington just implemented a pesticide testing program following Oregon guidelines.

Oregon doesn’t have any rules on testing anything yet, but when they do they will be pretty good.

In Colorado, if you can get test results take them with a grain of salt. In Washington, the content numbers might be good, but not much else. Neither state routinely tests for pesticides right now. In Oregon, applaud their intentions but don’t accept anything a lab says….

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