Trail Blazin’ Productions
Oh, thank you little baby Jesus! It is about time.
It was August 7, 2018, that I spoke with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board explaining that as of July 31, Washington was officially the ONLY adult-use state that did not require pesticide testing.
And to be clear, that is nothing to be proud of! It is especially concerning when the state agency’s mission is to promote public safety and trust through fair administration and enforcement of liquor, cannabis, tobacco and vaping laws.
The next day, the WSLCB started rulemaking to begin mandatory pesticide testing. Three and a half years later, it’s finally being implemented.
Let me start by saying, there is more to do. We know this. This is no small, simple task, and the science on the subject is still emerging. I can list a dozen ways unscrupulous cannabis farms can continue to put personal profits above consumer safety (however I’m not going to, for obvious reasons).
But when all data suggests that 30-40% of the regulated market has illegal amounts of pesticides in it (see here, here and here), and we’ve delayed implementation for this long, it’s irresponsible to wait any longer. In my ongoing conversations with the WSLCB, it was clear that the agency adequately identified the holes in the science, balanced comments from the industry, addressed pressure from the Legislature and (finally) prioritized consumer safety.
It’s also important to note that Washington has had fantastic pesticide rules since the inception of adult-use cannabis back in 2013. Very few pesticides are allowed on regulated cannabis, even less are effective. Anyone who has grown cannabis knows there are about 100,000 ways that cannabis can go wrong from clone to harvest; integrated pest management systems are a must.
The problem was that although the rules have always been very conservative, the enforcement of said rules has been non-existent. Theoretically, all products in the regulated market should have no problem passing these new mandatory pesticide tests as the only meaningful change is that the state is actually enforcing its pesticide rules (in place since 2013), instead of farmers just promising that they are following them. However, based on the data above, we know that not all farmers have been telling the truth.
As a farm that has certified all of our products as medical marijuana (Department of Health-compliant) since 2017, this is a gamechanger.
For too long, good, clean farms have lost shelf space to cannabis that doesn’t meet the rules for pesticide testing. Hopefully, this rule change helps support the good guys on the brink of extinction — those of us who are socially conscious companies, valuing our community, our employees and our environment instead of just our shareholders profits.
If I didn’t think that I’d break my neck, I would be doing backflips right now.