Washington State to increase testing of Marijuana for Pesticides

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on September 19, 2016.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board on Thursday announced that it would work together with Washington State Department of Agriculture in order to test for illegal pesticides on marijuana regularly.

The board will pay over $1 million to buy new specialized equipment to perform the tests, and hire two employees of the Agriculture Department to administer the testing, an official release said. In this regard, it signed an agreement for pesticide enforcement, random testing and testing when illegal pesticides are suspected.

“This agreement will significantly expand the state’s ability to test for pesticides,” said Liquor and Cannabis Board Director Rick Garza in a statement. “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.”

According to the agreement, the Agriculture Department will analyze an average of 75 samples per month covering a spectrum of 100 or more pesticides. The turnaround time for analytical results will be 15 to 30 calendar days.

The federal government, which normally regulates pesticide use, has no guidelines about using pesticides on marijuana since the use of marijuana remains illegal under the federal law.

However, Washington has required testing for mold and other impurities since it began allowing recreational marijuana sales in 2014.

Currently, marijuana growers are allowed to use 330 pesticides that have been approved by the WSDA.

The increased screening is expected to begin early next year and will examine marijuana where regulators have reason to suspect illegal pesticides have been used. This new move will certainly increase consumer protection in the emerging marijuana retail industry across the Washington state.

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