Spokane cannabis testing lab now screening for banned pesticide residue on recreational marijuana destined for consumers.
At present, the Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board does not mandate testing for pesticides on recreational marijuana. While the WSLCB and Washington Department of Agriculture have approved over 200 pesticides, the vast majority usually connected with cannabis are banned from use. As consumers become more aware of the situation, the pushback against all pesticide-use is gaining momentum.
Many advocacy groups in the state have been attempting to raise public awareness about the safety of the medical and recreational supply and some have resorted to protesting outside high visibility retail stores to draw attention to the facts. They are pointing fingers at the WSLCB over the apparent lack of strict enforcement of their own rules and over sight of the states’ 12 approved cannabis labs.
Colorado, the only other state with an active recreational cannabis program, is already facing its share of forced shut-downs and product recalls. According to Beyond Pesticides, Governor Hicklenlooper “acknowledges that because of cannabis’ status as a schedule 1 narcotic under federal law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has neither assessed the potential health hazards posed by treating marijuana with pesticides, nor has it authorized the application of any pesticide specifically for use on marijuana.”
Trace Analytics cannabis testing lab in Spokane has already started evaluating pesticide residue on a voluntary basis. Gordon Fagras, CEO of Trace Analytics, recently said that “while no specific state guidelines are in place here in WA we looked to other states that are proposing or have strict guidelines on residue testing place already. After careful evaluation and numerous consults with industry experts we have spent the last 11 months developing a robust and comprehensive testing method.”
Properly testing for residues in cannabis presents issues due to the many forms it comes in from concentrates to vape pen cartridges, flower products to hash oils. Fagras continued, “Our goal is to be able to present a scientifically validated method that meets criteria from other food and AG markets. We are currently offering those tests to WA State I502 producer/processors and medical dispensaries/growers who want to have tangible evidence of the cleanliness of their product. We are currently screening for about 173 different compounds and expect that number to go as high as 400 over the coming months.”