Trending News 2015

Spider Mites. Scary words for pot growers. Pesticides are not the solution.

Anyone who has ever grown marijuana knows that bugs can kill or damage an entire crop. In a matter of days mold, different types of mites, thrips, fungus gnats, aphids, and other nasty buggers can wreak havoc in the entire garden causing heavy financial loss.

The WA State Liquor & Cannabis Board approved over 200 different pesticides growers can use to keep the bugs at bay. Big problem. Random sampling of cannabis sold in retail stores are testing positive for pesticide residue. Some industry insiders estimate that possibly up to 70% of the pot legally sold in stores have some level of pesticide contamination.

This is becoming a bigger problem as lawsuits flood the courts in WA & CO. No one wants to smoke or ingest pesticides. It is fast approaching a huge disaster for commercial growers when medical marijuana is folded into the WA state recreational system on July 1, 2016.

Casey Connell of Contender Agriculture has the solution.

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Source: Darlene Brice,

Cannabis Testing in California

“After a spate of pesticide warnings and recalls, it’s no surprise consumers want to be clear what’s in their cannabis. So as election season approaches, many are watching California to see how the nation’s biggest state handles product testing as it weighs recreational legalization.

There are plenty of proposals on the table — at least 18 would-be initiatives have been submitted — but advocates in recent weeks have appeared to unite behind a single one, the California Adult Use of Marijuana Act. When it comes to testing, the initiative would keep quality control in private hands, but it would attempt to build a firewall between laboratories and businesses.”

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Source: Authoried by Leafly

Keeping Marijuana Clean

“If you take a prescription pill in America, you can be fairly certain of what you’re getting, thanks to strict federal regulations that mandate quality and consistency. That’s not true for marijuana, even if a doctor prescribes it. Bud can mildew or be covered in potentially dangerous pesticides; edibles can be contaminated with E. coli or mold; concentrates like butane hash oil can have high levels of solvents left over from processing.

As more states legalize medical or recreational marijuana, they’re tasked with defining the kind of tests and quality controls that must be done, if any, on the edibles, bud, and concentrates sold at dispensaries and storefronts across the country. But because selling or possessing cannabis is still a federal crime, the 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana aren’t getting any guidance from the EPA, FDA, or USDA, the federal agencies that set the standards for safely growing and processing plants for consumption.”

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Source: by , BuzzFeed News Reporter

 Cannabis Testing: Expect High Prices in Oregon

Trace Analytics Cannabis Testing Lab, Spokane, WA“New state regulations requiring that commercial cannabis – both medical and recreational – be tested for pesticide contamination could result in a major price increase in Oregon’s marijuana market.

The Oregon Health Authority has thus far released a list of 59 pesticides that labs will have to test flower for before harvests can be released for sale, according to KTVZ. The cost of testing will likely be passed on to consumers in order to maintain profitability for growers and dispensaries, so the only question at this point is how much prices will go up.

One lab vice president at CannAlytics estimated that prices will jump between 50-100% next year.

The testing requirements go into effect in June, which means that there will be a surge in demand next summer for laboratory services. And depending on how much inventory passes, it could also mean a sudden dearth of supply for dispensaries (regular rec shops aren’t expected to come online until next fall).

One of the problems for existing labs, according to KTVZ, is many of them don’t yet have the necessary equipment to test for all the pesticides identified by the state. One lab director estimated his business will need to spend upwards of $500,000 on new equipment.”


Multi-Billion Dollar Cannabis Industry

“In 2014, legal cannabis sales in the United States reached $2.7 billion, nearly double the $1.43 billion mark reached in 2013, and more than triple the $800 million sold in 2012. That number, though, is expected to grow even more as 2015 is currently on pace to hit $3.5 billion. Estimates even have sales increasing to some $10 billion by 2018.

Of course, all of this has to be considered in relation to that total figure of $35-50 billion looming over everything. As fast as the current legal market is growing, it’s still just beginning to fill that massive vacuum left by nearly a century of ineffective legal doctrine that forced the industry into the shadows.”

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Source: PRNewsWire for Journalists

 Georgia Governor Says “No” to CBDs

It looks like it’ll take more persuading before Georgia entrepreneurs have a chance to begin making and selling CBD oils.

Gov. Nathan Deal basically put the kibosh on CBD production in his state on Wednesday, even though CBD oil has already been legalized for medical patients.

Currently, CBD is legal for those in the state to use, but there’s no way for anyone to obtain it legally, since patients would have to acquire the marijuana-based oils in another state and then break federal law by transporting it across state lines to bring it home.

One local Republican lawmaker – the same one who got CBD legalized earlier this year – is in the process of working on a bill to allow for in-state production, but Deal said Wednesday he doesn’t think the state is ready for that.

“I still don’t think we have sufficient information or ability to control something of that nature if we start production and processing here in our state,” Deal told reporters.


CO Governor Declares Pesticide Use on Pot “Threat to Public Safety”

Last Thursday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order directing state agencies to address public safety concerns related to pesticide-contaminated cannabis. The next day, the state of Oregon adopted new rules strengthening its requirements for laboratory testing of cannabis for pesticides.

The state-level action on pesticide-tainted cannabis is viewed as responsive to an ongoing public health threat. However, safety advocates say steps are needed to ensure that cannabis users, particularly medical patients with cancer, seizures, or other immune compromising diseases, are safe from toxic chemicals.

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Source: Beyond Pesticides

Banned Pesticides Found in CO Pot

(CNN) - It’s been nearly two years since recreational pot was legalized in Colorado and the thriving pot industry has hit some hurdles in the form of potential dangers to consumers.

Pesticides that are illegal to use on marijuana plants in Colorado are being found in some recreational and medical pot products being marketed and sold to the public — leading to product recalls, plant quarantines and even a class-action lawsuit involving people who say they would not have inhaled the product had they known illegal pesticides were used on them.

Pesticide testing is not mandatory for pot businesses in Colorado, nor are they subject to random pesticide testing, as are other crops, according to Mitch Yergert of the state’s agriculture department. Pot businesses generally are left to self-regulate pesticides use, though officials say they are working to come up with a plan for better oversight.

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CNN’s Ana Cabrera contributed to this report.


Hawaii State Contract for Marijuana Software Developers Up for Grabs

“The Hawaii State Department of Health has issued a request for proposals for seed-to-sale tracking software. The agency will award a contract by Dec. 23, according to Pacific Business News.

The tracking system will be used for all of Hawaii’s planned 16 dispensaries, which are slated to begin opening in July. In addition to tracking inventory and sales, Hawaii officials want the system to be able to trace the amount of unused material produced by each plant at harvest. They also want to keep tabs on the transportation of marijuana between production centers and dispensaries, including tracking the identity of the person transporting the cannabis.

The state’s interim industry rules will be published Jan. 4, while the business license application period will run between Jan. 11 and Jan. 29.

Contracts for marijuana-related software have become a lucrative source of revenue for some companies in recent years, with states such as Colorado, Washington, New Mexico, New York and Illinois all paying private businesses to develop inventory tracking systems.

With the addition of Hawaii, and possibly more states down the road such as California, this subsector of the cannabis industry is only expected to grow.”


Wholesale Pot Prices Skyrocket

by John Schroyer

“In early 2015, a number of Colorado’s longtime marijuana industry insiders predicted an impending price crash for wholesale cannabis.

But the crash failed to materialize this summer as feared. In fact, the opposite trend is playing out: prices have skyrocketed in recent months.

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by Ricardo Baca and David Migoya

The city of Denver recently announced the ninth marijuana recall in 10 weeks  — this one for more than 12,600 packages of pot-infused edibles made by Gaia’s Garden. The latest voluntary recall, as with the others, targets cannabis products contaminated with potentially dangerous pesticides not approved for use on marijuana.

Wednesday’s recall is the second for Gaia’s Garden, which saw the recall of more than 8,000 packages of edibles in early November 2015. Added together, the two Gaia’s Garden recalls equal the state’s largest-yet recall of infused products.

“To some degree it’s growing pains and not the black eye people might think,” Gaia’s managing partner Eric White said. “This is a sign of a positively building industry.”

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CO Governor Orders Pesticide- Tainted Marijuana Be Destroyed

“Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on Thursday called marijuana grown with unapproved pesticides a threat to public safety and ordered it removed from commerce and destroyed.

In an executive order, Hickenlooper said state agencies should consider any off-label use of a pesticide “a threat to public safety,” and should be quarantined and destroyed.

Hickenlooper’s order is more severe than quarantines and recalls of pesticide-contaminated cannabis previously mandated by Denver health officials, which allowed marijuana products back into circulation once tests confirmed pesticide residues were beneath limits allowed on other consumable crops. Hickenlooper’s order seems to proscribe even traces of pesticides.”

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Pesticide Concern for Marijuana Consumers

“Just like in vegetable cultivation, the use of pesticides in growing cannabis is a growing concern for consumers, especially medical cannabis patients.

The first known lawsuit highlighting this issue is underway in Colorado, and attracting a great deal of media attention as safety and compliance become focal points for the cannabis industry looking ahead. The Denver Department of Environmental Health was already forced to issue recalls for multiple crops of cannabis in September after learning of unauthorized pesticide contamination through laboratory testing.

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Denver: Largest Marijuana Pesticide Recalls

“Nearly 30,000 packages of marijuana-infused edibles in Colorado were recalled voluntarily in the past few days because they contain potentially dangerous pesticides that are banned for use on cannabis.

The moves represent the two largest recalls of infused pot products to date, according to the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

Gaia’s Garden recalled more than 8,000 packages of infused edibles Tuesday. EdiPure owner Green Cross recalled more than 20,000 units of its popular edibles Oct. 30. Both companies — which purchase cannabis from other growers to infuse their edibles with THC — had bought marijuana trim from TruCannabis, which was the subject of its own pesticide-related voluntary recall in mid-October.

“There’s a lot of sadness that we’re involved in this in any way whatsoever,” Gaia’s Garden managing owner Eric White said Tuesday.”

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By Ricardo Baca and David Migoya


Cannabis Testing Issues Cause Concern

By Omar Sacirbey

Massachusetts health officials are refuting the perception that stringent marijuana testing standards are contributing to the excruciatingly slow rollout of the state’s MMJ program and preventing dispensaries from launching. Just three dispensaries have opened their doors to patients since Massachusetts legalized medical cannabis in 2012, and each needed a waiver from the state because MMJ labs are unable to meet all the testing requirements.  Another 12 dispensaries received provisional licenses – most of them early last year – but have not yet opened. The state says these dispensaries are still working through the process of setting up their operations and getting the necessary approvals to receive a final license and open.

“The testing piece is not a reason why dispensaries haven’t been able to open,” said Scott Zoback, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services, which manages the medical marijuana program.Marc Nascarella, chief toxicologist for the state’s Department of Environmental Health, echoed that sentiment, saying he thinks the testing regulations “are achievable.” Nevertheless, state officials said they have been reviewing the testing guidelines, and industry insiders believe that changes are on the horizon.

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Source: Marijuana Business Daily

Legal Pot: Marijuana Consumers Are Less Likely To Abuse It

by Jacob Sullum, Forbes

“It stands to reason that legalizing marijuana, by making it easier, cheaper, and less risky to obtain, would encourage consumption. That is mostly a positive development, since it implies greater consumer satisfaction as more people enjoy a product that prohibition made harder to get. But it also stands to reason that as marijuana consumption rises, so will marijuana-related problems. The extent of those problems is a big part of the current debate about the wisdom of emulating Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska by treating marijuana suppliers as legitimate businesses instead of criminal organizations.

Contrary to what prohibitionists tend to assume, the increase in marijuana-related problems following legalization may not be proportional to the increase in consumption. It’s plausible that people prone to excess are less likely to be deterred by prohibition than people of more moderate habits. If so, problem users may represent a smaller share of cannabis consumers after legalization than they did before, which means marijuana’s benefit-to-cost ratio would improve. A study published yesterday by JAMA Psychiatry provides some evidence that as the number of cannabis consumers increases, the percentage who experience serious cannabis-related problems will decline.”

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Source: by Jacob Sullum

Pot Shops Hit With Class-Action Pesticides Suit

by Michael Roberts

“Marijuana attorney Rob Corry has filed a class-action lawsuit against the LivWell chain of dispensaries based on its alleged use of a pesticide called Eagle 20 “in the first quarter of 2015 and likely for many months, if not years, earlier.”

The substance is described in the suit as a patently dangerous fungicide that releases hydrogen cyanide when burned while smoking cannabis.
Pot Shops With Class-Action Pesticides Suit.

After being contacted by Westword, a LivWell spokesperson declined to comment about the complaint, which had not yet been received by the company. However, LivWell owner John Lord and other representatives have previously stressed that its growers are no longer spraying cannabis with Eagle 20, and they believe no one was endangered by its previous use of the substance.

Corry, meanwhile, hints that future lawsuits may be filed against as many as ten other marijuana businesses in Colorado, with a focus on operations previously cited by the City of Denver in regard to a pesticide investigation.

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Source: WestWord article by Michael Roberts

Powerful companies are eyeing the profits and potential of cannabis, laying down plans to enter and change the business

by Tony C. Dreibus, Marijuana Business Daily

Gord fagras, CEO, Trace AnalyticsBrace yourselves, cannabis business owners: They’re coming. Big industries ranging from tobacco, pharmaceuticals and agriculture to alcohol, technology and even insurance are poised to enter the marijuana space. In fact, some large companies are reportedly quietly drawing up cannabis business plans for the future or kicking the tires on the marijuana industry in preparation to do so down the road.

While a company may one day emerge as the Marlboro, Pfizer or Anheuser-Busch of cannabis, one hasn’t yet stepped forward. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering cannabis is still federally illegal, few banks will do business with marijuana companies and less than half of U.S. states have legalized it for medical or recreational use.

But it’s not a matter of if some of these industries will invade, it’s a matter of when, experts say.

Cannabis sales hit an estimated $2.1 billion to $2.6 billion in 2014 and are expected to double in the coming years, according to estimates in the Marijuana Business Factbook. With a billion dollars in revenues expected in Colorado alone this year, large corporations will eventually follow the money and turn what is now mainly a highly fragmented craft industry into one where big companies rule and smaller players get pushed out.

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Source: Marijuana Business Daily

Marijuana Subject to Product Liability Claim in Colorado

By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — Two marijuana users in Colorado filed a lawsuit Monday against a pot business they said used an unhealthy pesticide to grow their weed — a case that lawyers say is the first product liability claim in the nation involving the legal marijuana industry.  The case underscores disagreement over what chemicals should be allowed in the cultivation of pot and leaves the plaintiffs facing a dilemma: The U.S. government still regards almost all marijuana as an illicit drug and there are no federal safety guidelines for growing it.

The state of Colorado has approved a list of pesticides that are acceptable to grow pot, but it’s far from complete and leaves out several pesticides that are commonly used on both food and tobacco.  The lawsuit filed in state court targets use of a fungicide called Eagle 20 EW by a Denver-based pot company called LivWell, where authorities quarantined thousands of plants earlier this year, saying they had been treated with the pesticide.

Eagle 20 EW is commonly used on grapes and hops but can become dangerous when heated and is banned for use on tobacco. No research exists on whether the fungicide is safe to use on pot that will be eaten.

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Source: Associated Press

“If it can happen in peanuts it can happen in cannabis…..”

Peanut Exec Gets 28 Years Behind Bars for Salmonella Outbreak

By RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — A former peanut company executive was sentenced Monday to 28 years in prison for his role in a deadly salmonella outbreak, the stiffest punishment ever handed out to a producer in a food-borne illness case.

The outbreak in 2008 and 2009 was blamed for nine deaths and sickened hundreds more, and triggered one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.

Before he was sentenced, former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell listened as nine victims testified about the terror and grief caused by tainted peanut butter traced to the company’s plant in southwest Georgia. Hours later, they left the courthouse applauding the sentence.

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Source: Associated Press

Testing in Cannabis Market

WA State Representatives: Brian Blake, Christopher Hurst, Elizabeth Pike, Dan Griffey, Elizabeth Scott, Joe Schmick, Jeff Holy, Bob McCaslin, David Taylor

Dear Representatives,
We respectfully submit an article that continues to detail the need for proper safety testing in the recreational and medical cannabis markets.   Why should we wait for a major incident and subsequent law suit to reign own on us here in WA State ?  There are only 2-4 legitimate qualified laboratories operating out of the 14 “certified” in this state.

Please review the article attached from MJ Biz Magazine

Expansion, Pesticides and Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Holiday

By John Schroyer

lab-lad--singleLivWell has quickly built a cannabis empire in Colorado, growing from one dispensary in 2010 to nearly a dozen medical and recreational marijuana storefronts that generate tens of millions of dollars in sales annually.

It’s now one of the largest marijuana retail chains in the state – and in the country, for that matter.

While navigating its meteoric growth, the company has had to adjust to new regulations and numerous challenges along the way. One of the latest examples: LivWell, which operates massive grow sites to supply its storefronts, was caught up in a large pesticide quarantine in April. But it ultimately prevailed, and Denver officials released the company’s inventory.

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Source: Marijuana Business Daily

4 Colorado Extracts Companies Pass Pesticide Test, One Fails

Several extracts manufacturers passed a pesticide test commissioned recently by The Denver Post, but one company’s products reportedly contained controversial – and possibly toxic – substances.

Mahatma Concentrates, a Denver-based extracts company, was found to be selling products that contain three pesticides the state has prohibited from use on commercial marijuana.

Mahatma purchased the tainted cannabis from a separate grower, Treatments Unlimited, which also runs the Altitude chain of rec stores, according to the Post. One of those shops was among several stores forced to quarantine thousands of plants in February and March by the city due to pesticide concerns.

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Source: Marijuana Business Daily

“Inconsistent Cannabis Testing”

“One factor contributing to testing discrepancies is that there is no standard for cannabis laboratories. This means that labs are employing people with different levels of skill, using a variety of equipment and testing methods to determine the potency, homogeneity, and presence of contaminants throughout all cannabis products.

Even the best equipment and lab technicians have found that not all cannabis testing is 100% accurate. This is dangerous for the members of the cannabis community who have been working very hard to properly label their products to establish a true medical industry. Other factors that can contribute to the unreliable state of cannabis tests are errors by the lab technicians and purposeful mislabeling of potency for fraudulent marketing. States that have legalized recreational cannabis are among the first to call for standardized cannabis testing, yet it is not clear what these standards should be, or who has the authority to clearly define regulated lab testing.”

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Source: Jay, Smoke Reports

“Cannabis Successfully Treats Epileptic Baby and Grandparents with Cancer”

“Karl Keich hosts a group discussion with Dr. Sue Sisley and a family that uses cannabis therapy to heal their life threatening ailments. Remarkable medical experiment backs up the notion that cannabis is a “cure-all” for 99% of the worlds health problems. More evidence that we need to end the war on cannabis and allow for research and widespread cultivation of this powerful plant. Please share this video with the press, lawmakers, doctors and anyone else that has a health condition that can benefit from cannabis.”

Watch Video

“Scientists Speak Out: False Cannabis Claims”

Leading international scientific body reviews thirteen oft-repeated claims on cannabis use and regulation, finds that none are strongly supported by scientific evidence.

Toronto, Canada – Many scientists are increasingly frustrated by the disregard of scientific evidence on cannabis use and regulation. To set the record straight, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP), a global network of scientists working on drug policy issues, released two groundbreaking reports today evaluating the strength of commonly heard cannabis claims.

“State of the Evidence: Cannabis Use and Regulation,” is a comprehensive overview of the scientific research on major claims made about cannabis. It is paired with a summary report, “Using Evidence to Talk About Cannabis,” which equips readers with evidence-based responses to the claims.

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Source: International Centre for Science in Drug Policy

“Is Your Cannabis Safe?”

Pesticides, fungicides, and residual solvents can lead to harmful side effects following consumption.

Knowledge and proper measurement of plant terpenes and cannabinoids is critical to understanding desired medicinal effects.

Fungus and bacteria can be especially harmful to individuals with asthma, allergies, or a compromised immune system.

Accurate testing and labeling of edibles/medibles is essential, as the effect of CBDs/THC are enhanced during digestion, making dosage key for a positive experience.

Regulations and standards for cannabis should reflect those by the FDA to ensure patient safety and consumer confidence.

“Confusion Surrounds Pesticide Use in Legal Marijuana Market”

“THE MARIJUANA PLANT’S worst enemy is so small it’s practically invisible. On weed farms around the country, spider mites attack leaf cells one by one, sucking out chlorophyll like teeny tiny green vampires. If the mites kill enough cells, the whole plant is a goner—an expensive problem considering a single mature marijuana plant is worth as much as $4,000. That’s why more and more, farmers have turned to pesticides. Lots and lots of them.

Unchecked pesticide use has long been the status quo in the anything-goes world of illegal weed farming. But as states legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use, they’re trying to crack down on the toxic chemicals. In late April, Denver officials quarantined 60,000 plants—worth millions—at a single grower, the latest in a string of punishments for growers using dangerous pesticides. “There was 30 or 60 day period where we were receiving multiple complaints a week” says John Scott, pesticide program manager at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. But exactly what constitutes a dangerous or even illegal pesticide is a tricky, tricky question.”

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 “Washington’s pot industry, pesticide use remains hazy”

by Amelia Havanec

“When the state of Washington began selling legal marijuana just over a year ago, advocates bathed in the glow of a market that could come out of the shadows, and be made safer. Tests and standards could begin instituted, as they are with the food, tobacco, and other products we consume. But as the plant goes from small underground operations to warehouse and fields, the monetary risk of the pests grows, while the use of pesticides to control them remains foggy.

“The (state) tests for potency, but they do not go, ‘Oh, by the way, we want to make sure these live up to standards for human consumption,’” says Robert Whelan, an ECONorthwest economist. Washington’s lack of regulations on pesticide use is particularly concerning for edibles, he says. “It’s the Wild West….We’re supposed to trust (growers) to do the right thing… but God knows what you get.”

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Source: Crossroads article by Amelia Havanec

“A Tainted High”

Lax state rules, inconsistent lab practices and inaccurate test results put pesticide-laced pot on dispensary shelves

Dab Society Dutch Treat, a potent cannabis extract sold to medical marijuana patients, sailed through state-mandated pesticide testing.

The results were printed on the label, backed by an official report. Workers at a Southeast Portland dispensary were happy to share the lab certificate. All you had to do was ask.

But, in fact, two laboratories commissioned by The Oregonian/OregonLive found pesticides in the same sample of Dutch Treat at levels above what the state allows.

It wasn’t an isolated case.

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Source: Reported and written by NOELLE CROMBIE | [email protected]

“Marijuana Growers Hit A Snag: Toxic Pesticide”

by Bill Chappell

Farmers who grow marijuana for Colorado’s legal market are running into problems as they try to control mildew and pests. Because of the plant’s illegal status at the federal level, a main source of agricultural guidance isn’t available to pot farmers.

Attempts to regulate marijuana production often hit another problem, as the plant’s wide range of uses sets it apart from many traditional food crops.

“You don’t smoke tomatoes, you don’t smoke grapes,” John Scott of Colorado’s Department of Agriculture tells the AP. “You don’t extract those into oil products that’ll be either used through dermal products, through lotions, or infused into other foods.”

Last month, The Oregonian reported that “a combination of lax state rules, inconsistent lab practices and inaccurate test results has allowed pesticide-laced products to enter the medical marijuana market.”

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