Dangerous Pesticides Are Being Found In Colorado’s Weed
Colorado’s agricultural agencies are in panic mode after several independent studies found dangerous levels of pesticides in marijuana products.
A CNN report published Wednesday found that at least one over-the-counter product tested positive for illegally high levels of the neurotoxin imidacloprid. CNN commissioned tests by an independent lab, and the report ultimately led to a recall of 2,362 pot products. A similar Denver Post study in September yielded similar findings — some of the cannabis products tested had as much as six times the federally allowed limit on pesticides in consumable products.
If the pesticides had been found on, say, avocados, the products would have been taken off the shelves immediately. But Colorado’s oversight of pesticides on marijuana has been limited, other than a handful of recalls and plant quarantines.
Colorado and other states that recently legalized marijuana are just beginning to grapple with the pesticide issue. An absence of federal regulation has left the states struggling to figure out how to pass pesticide legislation, how to enforce it and which agencies should be doing the enforcing.
Marijuana businesses in Colorado are not required to conduct pesticide testing before products hit the shelves, nor does the state conduct random testing after the items are already on the market. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, which usually regulates pesticides, doesn’t have oversight because the federal government still lists marijuana as an illegal Schedule I drug. That has led to confusion over which pesticides can be used and in what amounts, CNN notes.
The ambiguity has left marijuana businesses and growers with the burden of self-regulating by taking their own products to state-licensed labs and getting them tested for potency and pesticides. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, called it a “buyer beware” market, in which it’s up to consumers and local businesses to vet products. However, Wolk noted that multiple state agencies are working to fix the situation.
Source: Huff Post