When commercial cultivation facilities grow cannabis it is not unusual for them to want to use some form of pesticide on their plants – after all, even a small infestation can spread and cost you quite a bit of time and money. Unfortunately, not all pesticides are created equal and many of them are not necessarily fit for human consumption – but that hasn’t stopped several companies from using them due to their effectiveness during the growing stages. This is an issue that has seeped into the legal cannabis industry in both Colorado and Washington – and is sure to be found in other states eventually as well if nothing is done about it.
In order to take control of the use of pesticides on cannabis in the state of Washington, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has partnered up with the Washington State Department of Agriculture to initiate random testing on cannabis throughout the state. After all the time we’ve spent randomly testing for cannabis, now we’re randomly testing the plant for drugs instead! The state hopes to be able to test at least 75 samples each month – some of which will be chosen via customer complaints, but a large portion of those samples will be completely random – as a deterrent for those who are still using illegal pesticides.
“This agreement will significantly expand the state’s ability to test for pesticides,” said WSLCB Director Rick Garza in a press release. “Testing for pesticides is a complex and costly process. Labs need specialized equipment and highly-trained staff to carry out the tests. This agreement will satisfy those obstacles. It will send a strong message to any producer applying illegal pesticides that they will be caught and face significant penalties, including possible cancellation of the license.”
The state is going to be spending $1.15 million on new equipment that is needed in order for them to test for pesticides – as well as two full time employees to conduct and oversee all the testing. They will be searching for any of 100 different pesticides which are banned for use on cannabis plants – they have issued a full list of banned pesticides on the Washington State Agricultural Department’s website as well as Washington State University’s Pesticide Information Center online. With 330 pesticides available for cultivators to use on their cannabis, it’s a wonder why anyone would risk using one of the 100 that have been banned – but unfortunately people still do.
This new agreement will increase consumer protection in the emerging marijuana retail industry. WSDA is pleased to partner with WSLCB to ensure that pesticide use in Washington’s marijuana production follows all applicable laws and regulations.
After legalizing cannabis, the issue of pesticide use really started to come to light – the system that Washington has now set up appears to be a good one that was well thought out – hopefully it works out well. If it does, you can almost guarantee that a majority of states will be planning to implement similar testing policies when it comes to legal cannabis, both in the recreational and medicinal industries. After all, any medicinal benefits of the plant could be entirely set back due to issues that may arise from consuming cannabis that was treated with illegal pesticides.