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Lab: California Cannabis Is a Pesticide Risk

Marijuana Pesticides California Cannabis Now
Photo by Gracie Malley

Cultivation

Lab: California Cannabis Is a Pesticide Risk

Most people would be aware if they were participating in an ongoing medical experiment — or, if they weren’t, they’d presumably want to know.

So here’s your warning: If you’re a medical cannabis user in California, you could be a walking test case for the effects of pesticides in cannabis.

It sounds scary — and it is — but it’s a fear that’s real.

Last week, Berkeley-based Steep Hill Labs announced that 84 percent of the cannabis it tested over a 30-day period tested positive for some type of pesticide. Steep Hill says this cannabis would have failed safety standards present in other states, including Oregon, where 130 people bought flowers now subject to that state’s first health alert, according to the Oregonian.

Of the tainted meds the lab handled, 65 percent had residue of the fungicide Myclobutinal. And that is in particular a big problem. While acceptable to spray on foodstuffs like grapes and almonds, Myclobutinal can’t be used on tobacco, according to Colorado Green Lab — because, when heat is applied, Myclobutinal turns into hydrogren cyanide, which is a chemical weapon.

The long-term effects of smoking this particular substance aren’t known, according Colorado Green Lab.

But what Steep Hill wants us to know is that with no mandatory testing of cannabis in California required until 2018, there is a real risk right now.

“Those in the cannabis community who feel that all cannabis is safe are not correct given this data – smoking a joint of pesticide-contaminated cannabis could potentially expose the body to lethal chemicals,” said Jmichaele Keller, Steep Hill’s president and CEO. “As a community, we need to address this issue immediately and not wait until 2018.”

California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation has yet to set safety standards, including how much residual pesticides are safe. As of now, only the city of Berkeley removes marijuana from dispensary shelves because of residual solvents or contaminants like pesticides.

Do you have concerns about pesticides in your marijuana?

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