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Policies for cannabis pesticide testing vary in the U.S.

Jul 14, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Six states imposed the strictest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tolerances for food commodities on up to 400 pesticidal active ingredients in cannabis, while pesticide testing was optional in three states.

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As Rhode Island gears up for its planned recreational sales debut this December, the state now requires that all of its cannabis pass pesticide testing.

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This process is common, as almost all legal U.S. states have some form of pesticide testing in place. With cannabis being illegal on a federal level, though, one is left to question exactly how rigorous the testing is.

In fact, since cannabis is not technically a food product or controlled at all by any federal body, one has to wonder exactly what type of pesticides buyers might be consuming with recreational, and even medical, marijuana.


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The answer, as is the case with cannabis policy in general, is that it varies significantly from state to state.

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Arizona is a good example of how some U.S. states are handling pesticide oversight. The state determined that testing for pesticides in marijuana was essential before the product can be placed on shelves, “but unlike other states, regulators here don’t do their own testing to ensure they are safe,” according to AZ Central.

Arizona has a third party test its cannabis, which makes it reliant on an outside company to provide accurate and reliable information. This is not an uncommon practice since marijuana policy continues to enjoy its “Wild West” phase in many newly legal U.S. states.

The fact is that pesticide testing varies significantly from state to state.

In a 2021 study, “six states imposed the strictest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerances (i.e. maximum residue levels) for food commodities on up to 400 pesticidal active ingredients in cannabis, while pesticide testing was optional in three states.”

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The study further found that the action levels of regulated pesticides were very different depending on its jurisdiction of origin. The main reason for this inconsistency is because the main agency that regulates and monitors pesticide use in the U.S. is currently not at all involved in regulating cannabis pesticides.

According to the EPA, it has not registered any pesticides for marijuana. This is because, as a federal organization, it cannot make policy for a substance that is deemed a Schedule 1 drug. Instead, the responsibility and authority for that is left to the states that have legalized marijuana.

These decisions are not always easy, and state lawmakers are having to make their own policies based on very little testing and history.

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Per a report in Environmental Health Perspective, “These states have had to make difficult decisions about regulating the use of potentially harmful chemicals on cannabis plants without the benefit of the type of rigorous data that typically inform pesticide policy.”

While some U.S. states are mirroring their policies on ones that seem strict and have worked for other things like food safety, the fact is that marijuana pesticide regulation is a very new science.

Further testing on pesticides used to cultivate cannabis is one way to ensure all consumers are safe from harmful chemicals.

Even without federal legalization, the thought is that if there is continued research and strict pesticide testing, the legal products on the shelf should be safe for all to consume.

The FreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.

Subscribe to  Weekend Dispensary, a new weekly newsletter from The GrowthOp.

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