Oregon Might Be Saying Goodbye to Clean Cannabis

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Out of all the states that have legalized adult-use of cannabis, Oregon currently has the toughest pesticide testing laws.

However, a newly proposed revision would reduce the restrictions on pesticides, causing the allowable limits of pesticides in marijuana to be increased.

The two major changes being proposed to Oregon’s pesticide testing:

  1. Lessening the regulations on concentrate testing — instead of every batch being tested for pesticides, processors would only need to submit a single random sample per year.
  2. Reducing the required amount of cannabis flower needed per test batch from 33% to 20%.

Proponents of these changes claim the lack of edibles and concentrates on recreational shelves is a result of the long turnaround time for lab results, and that these proposed changes will allow processors to get their products to retail faster. But “after delving deeper into the issue, it appears the current shortage is being driven by pesticide contaminated cannabis,” reports Keith Mansur with the Oregon Cannabis Connection.

According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), 10% of cannabis flower and 26% of concentrates are failing tests for pesticides.

But it gets worse, after talking with labs around the state, Mansur reports that the estimation for failed concentrate tests due to pesticides is more likely close to 50% and 70%; the OHA only used reported failures in collecting their data but many tests were conducted as a pre-screen and never reported to the OHA. When pesticide-covered cannabis is extracted, those pesticides concentrate in the oil as well, creating a poisonous cocktail.

The majority of cannabis producers and processors are extremely proud of Oregon’s strict pesticide laws, boasting that the Beaver State cultivates the cleanest, earth-friendly cannabis in the country. Rodger Voelker is a chemist and lab director of OG Analytical, he told Noelle Crombie of the Oregonian that “[These new rules are] a complete evisceration of everything we put into place.”

Strict pesticide testing ensures consumers are consuming a clean, harm-free product. It keeps cultivators honest and encourages them to practice organic cultivation methods that protect consumers and the environment.

Testing flowers and concentrates for pesticides is extremely important — while some pesticides might be deemed safe to consume orally, there is no reliable scientific information on how these pesticides react when combusted and consumed.  

Pesticide usage does not only affect the end consumer. Allowing the spraying of pesticide infects local ecosystems — the land, water, animals, neighbors, and children.

Cannabis is a plant that heals the earth. Strict pesticide laws on cannabis are crucial for ensuring cannabis cultivation does not leave a negative impact on the environment.

Andrew Ourso, manager of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), announced these new rules are expected to go into place June 1, 2017, barring any objections from Oregon citizens. “The agency will evaluate the public comment,” Ourso explains, “If it comes out that this is not something the public wants, the agency won’t adopt.”

If you support strict pesticide laws, email publichealth.rules@state.or.us and let them know you want clean cannabis!

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

About Author

Allie is a NW-based content curator for Marijuana.com and an organic farmer at TKO Reserve. She has been a professional in the marijuana industry since she was 18 years old, spending the first five years of her career working for Dope Magazine as lead photographer. Allie has worked on mainstream projects such as Idiot's Guide: Growing Marijuana, Branding Bud: The Consumerization of Cannabis and her own self-published book, As The Grass Grows.

13 Comments

  1. I dont necessarily mind this. It could be a good thing if it allows products to be more readily available. Youve got to think about all the garbage that was in our cannabis long before it was legal. As long as they keep a focus on making sure that the limits are within a reasonable amount then this shouldnt be an issue at all. The once a year test for the concentrates seems a bit too lax though in my personal opinion.

    • Just because they used to allow smoking indoors and drinking during pregnancy doesn’t mean we should set the same standard with our cannabis. Revolutions in cannabis testing is crucial to public health & safety, and allowing this to pass is just sending us back into the dark ages.

  2. Testing for contaminants is one of the important things I was looking forward to with legal, regulated marijuana.

    PLEASE don’t remove this vital consumer protection!

  3. I live in Oregon, and while I dont smoke I abhore anything that promotes pesticides…it will take away all the benefits, and is just another means to kill us off.

  4. Cris Phillips on

    Keep it clean please and thank you !!!
    As a patient, I would prefer and I will INSIST that you do not use poison while growing my meds. It kind of defeats any purpose of using it for medication if u poison it. Please think outside your cash box when making proper intelligent decisions about people’s well being.

  5. Unfortunately growing large amounts of cheap cannabis to make the highest profit possible is the goal. Coupling this with taking away home growing rights ensures even more income for these monopolies. Consumer health is very low on the list of important things. It really is sad what is becoming of the “legal” cannabis industry.

  6. Oregon is a beautiful and biodiverse state in which a lot of residents take pride in how clean the environment is. Pesticides and non-organic chemicals are not only bad for the consumer, they are bad for their surrounding environment. What’s so hard about growing organic? Nothing! We need to move forward instead of back when it comes to protecting the health of our environment.

    • Please write to the email address found at the end of the article. I did and am providing a copy of the text if you want to copy it. Let’s get our voices heard for preventing an increased risk of residual pesticides in our cannabis.

      Dear Sir or Madam,

      Please do not reduce the current limits and quality control measures for control of residual pesticides for cultivated commercial cannabis.

      Consumers have long wanted a quality controlled process for cultivation and distribution of this product. Reducing limits and frequency of oversight increases risk of pesticide contamination and unhealthy outcomes for consumers. There is no current research that supports allowing an increase in residual pesticides in this product. If the commercial growers and distribution facilities desire to increase risk of residual pesticides, please require them to perform a rigorous scientific study that is peer-reviewed, and with oversight by public health scientists.

      Please keep Oregon as the national leader in cultivation of safe, clean cannabis with the minimum allowable residual pesticide. Provide the leadership necessary and do not bend to the desires of the large commercial growers to increase their profits.

      Strict pesticide limits and frequent oversight of quality, coupled with a growing demand for these products, will provide the commercial cannabis interests with the ability to set appropriate prices for high quality products. Healthy competition will drive innovation for clean approaches to cultivation and will potentially offset price increases which will then serve the interests of the consumer.

      Please keep Oregon in a national leadership position for safe, clean commercial cannabis.

      Thank you for your consideration

  7. I’ve given up many foods, and even products due to the enormous rise in chemicals in things over my lifetime.
    By putting more pesticides on a God given plant that helps people, then I cannot call this anything other than Government Legal Terrorization on the American people.
    If anyone wants to combat terrorist, then stop funding things they make us think help us!
    Baking soda is a great antiperspirant, mix a bit of table salt with it and you have a healthy toothpaste and fresh clean mouth. Even my dentist said I had the cleanish mouth & teeth of all his patients! My father used it and water over his 87years and died with every tooth in tact! So something was right!
    The Government is supposed to be there to maintain order, and PROTECT citizens, and they use us as if we are experiments rather than helping us stay healthy and clean.
    Even vinegar & water are safer and better cleaners than any cleaner on the market! And it helps control bugs! And us used in many recipes!
    My question is, why IS the United Nations calling for “Sustainable Development” and “claiming” they want the world to go green, yet they have no problem with putting pesticides and chemicals in the water, our products, our FOOD and sadly our medicine.
    Some might not know that what they call sustainable development is in actuality a sugar coated change to what was Agenda 17 then Agenda 2030, which did read on their website as DEPOPULATION!
    The people need to know this, and the people need to come together and stop using MANY products that a simple baking soda & table salt, vinegar & water will take the place of.
    Don’t let the governments of the world be the #1 terrorists in the world, then pay them to do it. Stop using as many of their products as possible in your life.
    Honor grandparents and great granparents who lived long lives because they didn’t have all these chemicals killing them. I’ve seen many of my ancestors death certificates and NOT ONE died of anything but natural causes! Not one case of cancer ever took the life of anyone in my family. But then again, they weren’t terrorized by poison by a government to death, literally. BOYCOTT chemicals, the earth will take care of us if we take care of it.
    Sorry this is long winded, but it is TRUTH! God bless, and I pray this opens the eyes of just one person!

  8. Strangely enough, it will not let me comment by saying the truth at a place I’ve never commented by saying I’ve already said that!

    Please use healthy alternatives to pesticides!
    I’ll add my comments and the screen snap at my website!
    I’ve never commented on this before since it is a new article!
    Please learn who the real terrorist are. They have only one weapon, and kill many!
    Go green, not poison any crops!

  9. I am in CA and I guess we’re still figuring it out so we can go recreational leagal starting in 2018. I have been reading a lot of what the licensing will cost for legal growing and for legal manufactoring products such as eatables, topicals, consentrates, etc. The cost is so high that it will keep all small growers and manufactures out of the business, so only the already rich can make all the money and keep getting richer, so if it cost them a hell of a lot more money to make sure it’s safe and pesticide free, then I am all for it. If they want to keep us little guys out of the business, make them do it right, under close supervision and testing. If they fail the test they don’t get to legally sell it or make any products with it. …and if the sellers try to pass on the cost to the consumer, well there will be enough competition that smart consumers can / will shop around for the best deal so they won’t be able to pass on all the cost. That’s my 2 cents anyway.

  10. Oregon is the worst when it comes to hippy sh3t, Im suprised they allow sugar and soda to be sold in their state they think everything is poison.

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