The growing cannabis industry in the state of Oregon has run into quite a dilemma due to recently implemented pesticide testing regulations. Out of all the states that have legal cannabis in some form, Oregon is the only state that requires preemptive pesticide screening – meaning they are testing as much of the cannabis grown in the state as possible to ensure that none of it was grown using illegal (generally harmful) pesticides. Most states only test on occasion or when illegal pesticide use is suspected, and they offer a list of pesticides which are approved for growers to use on cannabis.
Unfortunately, while the Oregon Health Administration certainly had a good idea – regular testing would certainly make it harder for someone to get away with using harmful chemicals on the plants and it would absolutely ensure that they didn’t get away with it for long. However, the amount of cannabis being tested – along with the requirement that it only be tested by accredited labs of which there are very few – led to major problems for the flow of the industry. Growers and processors have had to lay-off employees and dispensaries are starting to feel the effects too, with bare shelves. The entire industry has had to raise their prices to keep their doors open at all.
“The governor has been clear about the importance of the marijuana industry to Oregon’s economy,” Jeff Rhoades, marijuana policy adviser for Governor Kate Brown, said in the Health Authority statement. “This approach keeps Oregonians employed, prevents marijuana product from slipping back into the illegal market and continues to protect public health and safety.”
Luckily, it seems that Oregon’s state government is actually taking notice of the cries for help coming from the cannabis industry, especially business owners. While they do not intend to back down on routinely testing a large number of cannabis strains and samples, they have said that they will do what they can to ensure that the industry doesn’t collapse. This is a significantly positive thing – the government is acknowledging just how much of a benefit the industry has been to the state.
“The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has adopted temporary testing rules aimed at lowering the testing burden for producers and processors based on concerns and input from the marijuana industry. While the new temporary testing rules lessen the testing burden, they are still protective of public health and safety.”
Hopefully the changes to the number of strains being tested – and allowing multiple samples of the same strain to be tested together – will help to push the industry back up relatively quickly. Oregon has been extremely successful so far with their early-access through medical marijuana dispensaries and their commitment to getting things for the new recreational industry up and running as quickly as possible – following their original schedule just about to a tee. It would be a shame to see the majority of businesses, who have worked hard to get where they are, go under due to a hold up in the chain of supply and demand.