Although Oregon has some of the toughest regulations in the United States aimed at preventing contaminated marijuana from hitting the market, state health officials admit that customers are still getting their hands of contaminated marijuana polluted with pesticides.
According to a report from the Oregonian, the state wrote its own rules in order to prevent pesticides from showing up in the cannabis products, which included giving regulators the freedom to conduct random spot checks. But so far, the health authority has bypassed this process.
In fact, when the news source conducted its own inspection to gauge the effectiveness of the testing rules, pesticides were discovered.
“Most of the 10 cannabis extracts in The Oregonian/OregonLive tests came back showing they passed the standards, but three showed contamination at levels that should have kept them off the market. However, during retests of those extracts, the results differed: Only one came back contaminated,” the report reads.
“The experiment, while limited in scope, shows the state and the industry struggling to get a handle on how to monitor pesticide use as they contend with public health implications for consumers.”
The Oregon Health Authority recently made some of the testing rules less restrictive. The new standard allows pot operations more opportunities to purify cannabis products tainted with pesticides. Testing frequency has also been diminished.
While the new rules were implemented to put customers more at ease about the purity of their cannabis products, officials say this does not necessarily guarantee that every pot product is clean.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable for the general public to think that everything is 100 percent clean and safe,” said Andre Ourso with the health authority. “What we do as regulators is decrease the risk that something that would have an adverse health effect on the public would be consumed. I think these rules really do minimize those risks.”
During a recent survey, 30 percent of the pot sellers in Portland said that customers regularly inquire about pesticides prior to making a purchase. Some believe the pressure for purer pot will only increase as the legal cannabis market expands.
Health officials say that regulating pesticides an “enormous undertaking,” a process that could be made easier if the federal government would get involved and establish a national testing standard. Until then, states will likely continue the struggle to bring clean weed to market.