As Pesticides Remain Hot Button Issue for Colorado Cannabis Industry, New Regulations Aim to Provide Clarity

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Cannabis Business Alliance calls for sensible regulations

DENVER, Feb. 24, 2016 /Weed Wire/ — As pesticide legislation works its way through the Colorado General Assembly, the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) calls for sensible regulation of pesticides. Cannabis’ federal status has presented challenges to the Colorado industry: pesticides do not contain labeling for cannabis use, and research is non-existent for the use of pesticides on cannabis. As of now, pesticides cannot be registered with the EPA to be labeled and approved for use on cannabis. Applying many pesticides off-label may not be dangerous, but the ambiguity puts the industry in an uncertain position as a whole. The same pesticides barred for use by the cannabis industry are, in fact, used every day on strawberries and tomatoes that consumers purchase at major natural grocery chains.

“The cannabis industry wants to comply and work with the government to provide proper regulations for businesses across the state. However, the industry needs more labs certified for pesticide testing, as well as clear and consistent guidelines for businesses. Guidelines rooted in evidence-based in science,” said Mark Slaugh, CBA Board Member and iComply CEO. “Some facilities may choose to go pesticide free, but there are many options to mitigate pests. Not all pesticides are harmful if used properly. The current issue is that the industry hasn’t been able to identify pesticides that are labeled for use on cannabis, because of the crop’s federal status.”

Currently, the labs testing cannabis plants and products for pesticides are coming back with inconsistent results. Regulators have not yet certified the testing standards for these labs, but regulation is needed to truly help grow and guide a new industry in a safe and reliable manner.

This session, the House is considering HB 1079, which would direct the commissioner of agriculture to promote a program that would enable consumers to easily identify medical and retail marijuana and industrial hemp that have been cultivated and processed without the use of pesticides. With these new policies, facilities will be able to establish themselves by organic (also known as pesticide-free) practices.

HB 1079 will authorize third parties, such as the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), that can certify whether the marijuana or hemp cultivated or processed at a particular cannabis facility is free of pesticides. If certified, the facility’s cultivation and treatment of cannabis follows the standards of OMRI, such as the exemption of residual solvents, poisons, or toxins; harmful chemicals; dangerous molds or mildew; filth; and harmful microbial such as E. Coli or salmonella and pesticides. Facilities must also provide a comprehensive document of pesticides and fertilizers used, which is subject to inspection both annually and when changes are made.

Although HB 1079 does provide a standard for cultivators to follow, it does not address the dire need for pesticides to be able to be labeled for use on cannabis. Additionally, new labs specifically designed for cannabis pesticide testing need to be funded so this budding industry has a clear set of guidelines to abide by.

The industry and State need to know the objective dangers of particular pesticides before mandating that testing facilities be approved, empowered, and certified to test. To do so otherwise, is to declare otherwise safe-to-use pesticides as inaccurately dangerous – causing the demonetization and destruction of crops for simply existing outside of the narrow organic certification standard.

For more information, please contact Shawna McGregor at 917-971-7852 or

 About the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA)
The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) is an advocate and a resource for business owners, employees, patients and clients of the medical and adult-use marijuana industry. CBA promotes programs that will enhance the emerging marijuana industry’s place in Colorado’s business economy, create respect for the industry in the communities we serve, and support client and patient access, education and safety. For more information, visit Friend us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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