If you’ve been reading The Nectar, you’d know by now that California is the largest state to legalize recreational marijuana. Besides the headache of navigating new regulations, the rush to get weed in legal shops has caused concern that marijuana may be contaminated with pesticides.
Brian Melley of the Associated Press reported that marijuana sold at the start of the year has not passed regulation standards, therefore containing pesticides, molds, and contaminants. “Buyer beware,” warned Donald Land, a chemistry professor at University of California, Davis, also a chief scientific consultant at Steep Hill Labs Inc., which tests marijuana in several states. Land has tested marijuana samples from 15 dispensaries in Southern California and found that 93 percent of the samples had pesticides.
Consumers are usually protected from dubious products by the U.S Agriculture Department or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, Land said this is not true for cannabis. Although regulations and test requirements are mandatory next year, state officials have allowed for growers and sellers to sell leftover inventories for at least six months. They believe it would be unjust for pot businesses to suddenly have to meet required standards by the start of the year. However, crops that have been newly cultivated since the Jan.1, will be tested for contaminants and potency.
In the meantime, to protect consumers from pesticides, products that have not been tested will have the required label “Not Tested.” Testing could protect consumers from contaminants and pesticides, however this could cause lower yields.