Stricter Oversight for Pesticides in Cannabis Starts Now in Oregon

   

The Recreational Marijuana Program at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) made an announcement on Wednesday, August 30, related to the state’s pesticide testing program. Now, every batch of licensed and regulated cannabis in the commercial market must be tested for pesticides.

And implementation begins immediately.

Last fall, you may recall Oregon-based cannabis businesses producing edibles and concentrates went through a tumultuous time when delays in lab testing results bottlenecked, resulting in shortages and crippling economic losses. The public backlash caused the OLCC to take a step back, and public meetings were held to get input from stakeholders in the cannabis community. Temporary rules were put in place to ease the burden, but those rules were set to expire on May 30 but were extended to August 29. Now, the OLCC seems to have made their final decision on testing, and their timetable is likely to set some business owners scrambling.

From the OLCC document:

“In October 2016, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued a finding that the pesticide testing requirement would be lowered to a minimum of one-third of batches of usable marijuana within every harvest lot, due to insufficient lab capacity.

“Since that time, significant changes have occurred that have increased the lab testing capacity to ensure a steady flow of product through the supply chain. Last October, fewer than five labs were accredited to test for pesticides; today there are nearly ten such labs. Additionally, the Oregon Health Authority’s most recent testing rules increased by 50% the amount of usable marijuana that can be tested together in a batch.”

The document further directs for new rules to go into effect immediately:

“Starting August 30, 2017, every batch of usable marijuana must be tested directly for pesticides according to the Oregon Health Authority’s testing rules in order to be compliant. This includes product that was sampled prior to August 30.”

Whether or not the new labs can keep up with demand remains to be seen. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed and watching the market in the next few weeks. Let’s hope Oregon can lead the country in efficient and effective pesticide testing for cannabis products.

Stay informed of Oregon’s most current changes in pesticide testing and other policies affecting the state’s cannabis markets at the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, happening on Sunday, November 19, 2017 in Ashland, Oregon. Soon thereafter, the International Cannabis Business Conference in Kauai, Hawaii, from December 1st thru the 3rd, will be a good opportunity to learn from, and network with, cannabis entrepreneurs, investors and activists from around the world. 

Amber Iris Langston

Amber Langston, board member and deputy director of Show-Me Cannabis, is an outspoken advocate for social, economic and