On Feb. 17, 2017, members of Washington’s state agencies toured the Department of Agriculture’s cannabis pesticide testing lab in Yakima. The lab’s focus on testing for illegal pesticides in cannabis is the result of an agreement between the DOA and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board that aims to increase cannabis consumer protection.
“This is the first lab of its kind in the country and perhaps even in the world,” said Peter Antolin, deputy director of the WSLCB, as reported by the Yakima Herald. “It’s more of a preventive, proactive step on our part, again because pesticide use is something we’re concerned about.”
According to KIMA TV, 16 labs have been certified by the WSLCB, but they don’t test for illegal pesticides. The DOA’s lab is currently focusing on testing samples that have been flagged due to complaints of illegal pesticide use.
“Testing for pesticides is a complex and costly process. Labs need specialized equipment and highly-trained staff to carry out the tests,” said Rick Garza, director of the WSLCB, in a previous statement on the agreement between the WSLCB and DOA. “This agreement will satisfy those obstacles. It will send a strong message to any producer applying illegal pesticides that they will be caught and face significant penalties, including possible cancellation of the license.”