Washington state marijuana business owners are urging regulators to require cultivators to test adult-use crops for pesticides, a move that has triggered alarm bells among smaller growers.
Some cultivators hope such a move — already adopted in other states — would inspire confidence among consumers and bolster recreational marijuana sales.
But smaller growers — already squeezed by falling prices — worry they wouldn’t be able to afford mandatory pesticide testing, which is estimated to cost up to $300 per test.
The move also could force small farmers to cultivate fewer strains to keep costs down, although regulators so far have not signaled they will require the testing.
“Fundamentally, requiring pesticide testing doesn’t bother me,” said Mark Greenshields, a cannabis grower in Seattle, “but technically, increasing the costs, that’s a problem.”
Regulators already conduct random pesticide checks. But a mandatory regimen would force growers to submit cannabis for pesticide testing along with the standard testing criteria the state already requires.
Steve Fuhr, a producer-processor in Seattle, said “numerous industry groups,” including the Washington CannaBusiness Association and the Cannabis Alliance, have met and approached the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board and provided written suggestions that the agency adopt mandatory pesticide testing that follows other cannabis markets in the United States.
Fuhr said his interest in mandatory pesticide testing arose from hearing that cannabis testing labs in the state have found “troubling reports” of pesticide content when conducting blind tests of flower.
“We feel that it’s a public safety issue and for the image of the industry,” he said.
Other states take action
Washington would join other states, including Oregon, California and Colorado, in requiring cultivators to submit product for pesticide testing for recreational cannabis.
“We shouldn’t have this great reputation of some of the best weed in the world and not back