Cannabis is going legal in California as of January 1st 2018, and people are increasingly eager to get there hands on it, but it may not be as clean or green as it seems.
All cannabis sold recreationally in America’s most populous state after the first of the year has been grown without any regulation or ethical constraints. There have been zero test requirements and monitoring has been practically non-existent. This means that the presence of things such as mold, pesticides, and other contaminants is a very real risk in the cannabis being purchased.
In fact, just a few months ago, 93% of all samples collected from 15 dispensaries in southern California tested positive for pesticides. That may come as a surprise to some consumers considering the U.S. holds such high standards regarding pesticide use in food. However, those standards are not yet in place for California’s cannabis industry. The good news is that stricter limits will be put into place by the start of 2019.
As the California cannabis industry develops, growers, mips, dispensaries and other cannabis related businesses are going to have to navigate new and evolving regulations coming into place. Shops will have six months to sell their current cannabis products, but anything produced after January 1st, will be subject to testing for contaminants.
While California is allowing cannabis produced with no health regulations to be sold to recreational consumers, it will have to be labeled with a special sticker. Alex Traverso, a spokesman from the Bureau of Cannabis Control said, “When people see a sticker that says ‘Not tested,’ at least they know to purchase that or not.” Providing California consumers with a sticker seems to be the standby until further regulations are put in place.
Jim Hidalgo, an agricultural commissioner in Santa Cruz County California, stressed that pesticides are a top concern in California. One of his major concerns is for workers in the industry, and whether or not they are protected from potentially harmful pesticides being applied to cannabis. Farmers who spray their crops with pesticide have to get a certificate of use from the commissioner, which requires courses to be taken every 3 years and passing required testing.
While some think that the pesticide issue in the industry is overhyped, it is undoubtedly at a tipping point, and something people don’t want in their smoke. There is no question that some companies in California are getting their products tested for contaminants, because they believe in what they are selling to the public and want it to be safe, but others are looking to mass produce using pesticides, PGR’s and other harmful contaminants.
If you happen to be traveling to California and buy their pot remember to check your labels for a sticker warning you that the product is untested. If a company doesn’t care about having the sticker slapped onto their product, they probably don’t care about what went into (or onto) their plants and they probably don’t care about the end consumer’s health.
Know what you smoke. If you don’t know, ask.