Adios, General Use Compliant. We are in a new ballgame now and we are going to make the plays as we see fit to prove our cannabis is clean.
Washington Bud Company began providing medical cannabis to safe access points in early 2012. We embraced practices of growing clean medicine because I use it to treat Lyme disease and my husband treats his Hepatitis C.
We proved our methods produce clean cannabis when we were Washington’s first flower grower to test for the 14 pesticides and four heavy metals required under the state Department of Health program, allowing us to use the “General Use Compliant” symbol. The intent is to identify medically compliant products safe for patients. Since inception, the program has failed to expand as only three companies (out of more than 800 producers in the state) participated on a regular basis. And when the sole lab certified for heavy metals testing quit in January 2019, it left us with no option for a critical test needed for medically compliant products.
To add insult to injury, the traceability system often treats Washington Bud Company’s medically compliant flower products as high-THC edibles, halting retail sales to non-patients (ironically, our solution is to uncheck the medically compliant box).
Currently, the pesticides and action-level lists are inconsistent between agencies and labs. We transitioned to test April’s crop for the full panel of pesticides beyond those identified by the state Department of Health, as well as cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury.
The lead scientist at the lab jokingly said she is going to make a T-shirt that says: “JUST PUT A STICKER ON IT.” That is not just a joke; after redesigning and printing thousands of packages to include the new warnings and General Use Compliant symbol to meet the original deadline of Jan. 1, 2019 (which was eventually delayed a full year), we now have to put a sticker over the Department of Health symbol!
Washington Bud Company places high value on our reputation for growing clean cannabis. We have concluded that the Department of Health program does not add value and we can do better. We will test according to our own program until the laws, rules, agencies and labs have settled on common lists, action levels and standard methods of testing, and the traceability system can process merchandise properly at the register.
In the interim, I am committed to helping craft meaningful directives to support cannabis-using patients in Washington state. Other states are leading in earnest with their medical marijuana programs while our cannabis patients are forced into a registry, burdened with a 37% tax and have few products that meet their needs. These factors keep many in the underground market. Bringing more patients into the regulated program is a smart move for Washington and it will take significant efforts to gain their trust for our regulated environment.
Growing healthy genetics without harmful pesticides and heavy metals is the best thing we can do for patients, our store partners, our fan base and our company. Rest assured Washington Bud Company continues to provide clean cannabis to the public, as always, because we believe everyone’s health matters!