pesticides

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Oregon: Clean Cannabis Possibly Coming To An End

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon currently has the toughest pesticide testing laws of all the states with legal adult-use marijuana, but that could be about to change. 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 the changes claim the lack of edibles and concentrates on recreational shelves is a result of the long turnaround time for lab results. They say 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.

U.S.: Company Launches Initiative To Reduce Need For Pesticides On Marijuana

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A long-time partner of the cannabis industry is looking to dry up the need for heavy pesticide use.

Quest Dehumidifiers, which sold its first dehumidifier to the marijuana industry in 2006, has launched an initiative to help growers and consumers better understand the impact humidity levels have on plant health, which in turn may potentially reduce the need for unpopular pesticides.

The effort comes in the wake of an increasing number of recalls, pending state regulations, and consumer demand for truly organic cannabis – all of which will continue to impact growers.

“Cultivators know humidity impacts plant growth, but we see varied levels of understanding when it comes to using dehumidification to help prevent devastating plant molds and fungus, such as powdery mildew,” said Clif Tomasini, product manager at Quest. “We want growers to know we have their back and will give them credible, evidence-based information to help them grow clean cannabis.”

Largely educational in nature, the initiative includes media partnerships, public outreach, in-person meetings with growers, potential funding of third-party research, white papers, and an increasing focus on digital content that answers growers’ biggest questions about dehumidification.

Colorado: Cannabis Business Alliance Applauds 2016 Legislative Session

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As the 2016 legislative session comes to a close in Colrado, The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) on Thursday applauded legislators for what it called "the hard work and the goals achieved during the 2016 session."

“The 2016 legislative session has been eventful for the cannabis industry,” said Mark Slaugh, CBA executive director and iComply CEO. “Many of the bills that were up for discussion this session will have a major impact on our industry, and we are looking forward to seeing how some of these bills and laws change the landscape of the cannabis industry in Colorado for the better.”

“Consumer and public safety are CBA’s top priorities, which is why we are working to bring best practices to the industry to ensure consumers are educated about how and when to consume cannabis,” Slaugh noted. “CBA’s goal is to provide our members and the industry with insight to the bills being proposed, as well as sensible legislation for the industry. The industry has embraced many of the bills up for discussion this session and will work with the state to promote industry best-practices.”

The Retail Marijuana Sunset Bill (HB 1261)

"The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) applauds the Assembly for its prudent review of the Sunset Bill."

Purchasing Regulations

Colorado: Life Flower Medical Marijuana Recalled Due To Pesticides

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado marijuana regulators on Friday announced a big recall of medicinal cannabis grown with unapproved pesticides. The marijuana in question was sold by a dispensary with storefronts in Boulder and Glendale.

The recall is one of a series in which Guardian, a pesticide that had been sold as "all natural," was found to contain concentrations of a substance banned for use on cannabis, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at .

Colorado in January had removed Guardian from its list of approved pesticides for use on marijuana.

More than 92 lots of cannabis, with each lot containing up to dozens of plants, produced by Life Flower Dispensary at its grow on Arapahoe Road in Boulder and sold at its storefront on Leetsdale Drive in Glendale are subject to the latest recall, according to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division.

"We were using Guardian in late September and early October, and there are a couple of those plants still in flower," said Neal Bigelow, general manager at Life Flower. "That's exactly what we're going through."

Colorado regulators found the presence of abermectin, which isn't allowed for growing cannabis.

Washington: Steep Hill Labs Releases Open Letter To Cannabis Community

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Steep Hill Labs on Wednesday released an open letter to the Washington State cannabis community encouraging a call to action to prevent contaminated cannabis from entering the patient and consumer supply chain.

"In a recent third party audit of certified I-502 laboratories in Washington State, cannabis contaminated with pesticides and microbiological organisms like E. coli are being passed by certain disreputable labs, which means unsafe products are getting onto shelves," said Steep Hill CEO Jmîchaele Keller. "This is unacceptable when technology and the proper science are in place to insure safety to prevent health risk to consumers and patients."

Recent independent third party testing, including that done upon the initiative of Ian Eisenberg of Uncle Ike's Pot Shop in Seattle, showed many samples of I-502 recreational weed had traces of pesticides, causing concern in the community, especially among medicinal users with compromised immune systems and liver function.

Keller said Steep Hill stands with other leading labs in the industry, like Trace Analytics, who apply scientific best practices to put public health first.

"Together we are here to uphold standards of quality in this industry for consumer protection, and we cannot succeed if other laboratories cheat the system," said Keller.

Washington: Board Revises Marijuana Rules; Product Returns Now OK

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New rules from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) released on Wednesday include now allowing marijuana retailers to accept any open product return with the original packaging.

The draft rules are necessary to implement SB 5052, 2015 legislation which "aligns the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market" (by, in effect, subsuming the medicinal cannabis market into the recreational market, greatly reducing access for patients).

Under the rules timeline, a public hearing would be held May 4, with the Board being asked to adopt the rules on May 18. If adopted, the rules become effective June 18, prior to the availability of regulated medical marijuana products. The draft rules incorporate public comments received at seven public hearings across the state starting last fall.

“”These rules are based on extensive public input,” said Board Chair Jane Rushford. “The Board was diligent in listening and seeking practical input on its draft rules.

Highlights

Some highlights of the rule revisions include:

• Revised the definition of “licensed premises” to include all areas of a premises where the licensee has leasehold rights and any vehicle assigned to transport marijuana.

Washington State Has First Cannabis Recall Due To Pesticides

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

While marijuana product recalls have seemingly become commonplace in Colorado, Washington state had seemed remarkably free of such problems -- until now. Washington-based Evergreen Herbal on Friday issued the state's first voluntary cannabis product recall due to pesticide concerns.

The recall is an indirect result of two producers, New Leaf Enterprises and BMF Washington, recently being investigated by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) for using prohibited pesticides.

While the LCB did find prohibited pesticides on cannabis products from both companies and made them pay fines of $2,500 and suspend operations for 10 days, interestingly, BMF -- despite using no fewer than 12 prohibited pesticides -- was allowed to continue selling tainted flowers with a "warning label" after paying the fine. (All concentrates were destroyed upon orders of the LCB; the process of making concentrates also means higher levels of poison, as well as THC.)

Evergreen Herbal, clearly not wanting to end up like New Leaf and BMF, announced its voluntary product recall via press release on Friday, reports Graham Abbott at Ganjapreneur. The three products being recalled are the high-CBD edibles Hibiscus Quencher, Strawberry Quencher, and CBD Dark Chocolate 420 Bar; all three were, at one point, produced using Dama CBD oil, according to Evergreen.

Colorado: Pesticides Lead To Biggest Marijuana Recall Yet

MountainHighSuckers[Facebook]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than 99,500 packages of marijuana-infused Mountain High Suckers were recalled on Wednesday.

It was the largest recall of marijuana or cannabis products yet, and the 15th such recall in 16 weeks, reports Ricardo Baca at The Denver Post.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in November ordered the destruction of any marijuana tainted with unapproved pesticides, including any products made with that marijuana.

Mountain High Suckers tested positive for imidacloprid and myclobutanil, both of which the Governor has called "threats to public safety" and the state has banned for use on cannabis, reports Michael Harthorne at Newser.

Mountain High Suckers apologized to its customers on Facebook.

"We decided to take a proactive step and submit samples of all of our products for pesticide testing so we can help make sure that our products are safe," the company posted. "Going forward, we will be voluntarily submitting every concentrate batch we make for full pesticide screening before we make products."

The federal Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) hasn't ruled on what pesticides are safe for use on marijuana, since the crop remains illegal at the federal level, being classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Colorado: 13th Marijuana Recall In Denver In 13 Weeks

VapePenWeed[VapeCentral.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Denver-based marijuana company has recalled 27 cartridges of its THC-infused vape pen oil due to potentially dangerous levels of pesticides.

The Denver Department of Environmental Health found that Advanced Medical Alternatives vape pen oil contained pesticides not allowed to be used on cannabis in the state, report Ricardo Baca and David Migoya at The Denver Post.

The recall is the second in eight days for Advanced Medical Alternatives, and the 13th in 13 weeks issued by the city's Department of Environmental Health.

“Advanced Medical Alternatives, LLC is committed to excellence in providing safe and the highest quality products to its customers,” the company wrote on its website. “Accordingly, the company has voluntarily recalled certain products that may contain potentially unsafe pesticide residues.”

The business said it is changing its testing program to try to avoid similar problems in the future.

“Furthermore, the company is voluntarily implementing a new testing program for each crop produced by the company and/or that is incorporated into products produced by the company," the note read. "The company will continue to strive to be a leader in developing and/or implementing the highest industry standards. Thank you in advance for your continued support of such efforts and the company.”

Colorado: Marijuana Pesticide Concerns Prompt Liability Lawsuit

BrandanFlores[420intel.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two cannabis users in Colorado -- one of them a medical marijuana patient with a brain tumor -- have sued the largest pot grower in the state for allegedly using a potentially dangerous pesticide on the weed they later purchased.

Brandan Flores and Brandie Larrabee have brought a lawsuit against LivWell Inc., seeking class-action status and alleging the company has for years inappropriately used Eagle 20, a harsh fungicide containing myclobutanil, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at The Denver Post.

Neither Flores, who lives in Denver, nor Larrabee, who lives in Grand Junction, claim they were sickened from using the marijuana they got at LivWell, but both say they wouldn't have used it if they had known it was treated with Eagle 20.

"In a larger sense they're saying the marijuana industry can't go on unchecked and someone has to do something to stop these people from using Eagle 20 and other harmful pesticides," said attorney Steven Woodrow, representing Flores and Larrabee.

The two are asking for unspecified financial damages for money they overspent to buy cananbis they said should have been discounted because of the pesticide. The 40-page lawsuit, filed on Monday in Denver District Court, says the fungicide myclobutanil, when heated, produces "poisonous hydrogen cyanide" and alleges that consumers who smoke marijuana treated with Eagle 20 ingest the gas.

Colorado: Marijuana Pesticide Regulations Deprioritized

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado regulators have known since 2012 that some marijuana in the state is grown with dangerous pesticides, but pressure from the cannabis industry and lack of guidance from the federal government delayed their regulatory attempts, and they ultimately decided on a less restrictive approach than originally planned.

Three years of emails and records, along with dozens of interviews, show state regulators struggled with the issue while the marijuana industry protested that proposed pesticide limits would leave their crops vulnerable to parasites and disease, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at The Denver Post.

As state officials were preparing a list of allowable pesticides on marijuana last year, officials at the Colorado Department of Agriculture stopped the process -- under pressure from the cannabis industry, according to The Post.

"This list has been circulated among marijuana producers and has been met with considerable opposition because of its restrictive nature," wrote Mitch Yergert, the CDA's plant industry director, shortly after the April 2014 decision. "There is an inherent conflict with the marijuana growers' desire to use pesticides other than those" that are least restrictive.

Colorado: Marijuana Growers Have Legal Alternatives To 'Organic' Label

USDAOrganicCannabis[MarijuanaGrowersHeadquarters]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado's marijuana industry has thus far benefited from the regulatory gray area where it resides, but according to an expert in organic certification, any other operation that routinely labeled its products "organic" without certification would have been shut down and fined almost immediately.

"If those farmers were farming any other agricultural crop, they would be contacted within a month or two," said Chris Van Hook, an accredited organic certifier for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and owner of Clean Green Certified, which offers alternative organic certifications for cannabis, reports Emilie Rusch at The Denver Post.

"It's very clear in the organic regulations," Van Hook said. "It's an $11,000-per-violation labeling infraction to call an uncertified product organic."

Industry figures are working to find a way to legitimately market cannabis products as pesticide-free and environmentally friendly. Van Hook established his "Clean Green" certification seal in 2004, and another organization, based in Denver, could begin certifiying marijuana as pesticide-free later this year.

"The quicker the cannabis industry can address the misrepresentation, the better it will be for consumers and farmers," Van Hook said. Clean Green, based in Crescent City, California, has already certified more than 100 cannabis grow operations, processors and collectives.

Colorado: Denver Cracks Down On Pesticides In Marijuana Products

MMJAmericaDurbanPoison[AAronOntiveroz-TheDenverPost]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver health officials on Tuesday started inspecting and quarantining hundreds of cannabis products because their labels listed pesticides not approved by the state for use on marijuana.

The city's move came about six months after officials had quarantined 100,000 plants at 11 grow facilities due to concerns about pesticide use, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at The Denver Post.

No safety standards exist for pesticide use on marijuana. Since cannabis is illegal under federal law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticides, has never established any limits.

However, since marijuana is legal in Colorado, the state Department of Agriculture there has created a listed of allowed pesticides, as has its counterpart in Washington state, where recreational pot is also legal.

The quarantines were put on Mountain High Suckers and MMJ America after Denver's Department of Environmental Health late Monday warned businesses that products with labels reflecting the use of banned pesticides should be removed from shelves and destroyed, or returned to the manufacturers.

Colorado law requires all cannabis product labels to list pesticides, contaminants, fungicides and herbicides that were used, from germination to packaging.

Colorado: Beyond Pesticides Notifies State of Illegal Pesticide Use On Cannabis Crops

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Group Proposes Alternative Approach that Complies with State and Federal Law

Beyond Pesticides on Tuesday submitted a letter to the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) highlighting violations of federal law and encouraging CDA to implement an alternative approach to allowing the use of unregistered pesticides on cannabis crops throughout the state.

This letter was written in response to recent actions by CDA allowing the use of hazardous pesticides under general label language that does not specifically address use on marijuana, and encourages stakeholders to pursue exemptions for other highly toxic pesticides.

Both approaches violate federal law and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, according to Beyond Pesticides. Given the potential legal challenges associated with approving toxic pesticides for use on cannabis, Beyond Pesticides is "encouraging" CDA to allow within the state only the use of pesticides that fall under section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

For months the state has been at odds with marijuana growers and municipalities, most notably the City of Denver, over whether or not pesticides can be used to cultivate marijuana crops. In June, CDA published a list of pesticides it believes are available for use on cannabis, despite the fact none have been registered by EPA, as required by FIFRA.

Nevada: DigiPath Labs Completes First Medical Marijuana Test

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DigiPath Labs of Las Vegas, the cannabis testing subsidiary of DigiPath, Inc., on Thursday announced that it has successfully completed its first commercial test of cannabis material.

In the short time it's been open, the company said it has already proven that it has the equipment and knowledge needed to reliably test medical cannabis for safety and potency.

"We are open for business," said Todd Denkin, president of DigiPath Labs. "It's been a very long and arduous process, but we jumped through all the hoops and cleared all the obstacles, and now we're testing cannabis products and generating revenue, an important milestone to our shareholders."

As one of only two labs currently operating in Southern Nevada, DigiPath Labs is positioned at the forefront of what is anticipated to become a rapidly growing industry in the Silver State. According to ArcView, the legal cannabis market exploded from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion in 2014—a 74 percent increase in just one year.

Greenwave Advisors estimates that the market could reach $35 billion by 2020 if marijuana is fully legalized across the country, or $21 billion under the more likely scenario of 12 states legalizing recreational use and 37 states legalizing medical use.

Nevada: DigiPath Inks Deal With First Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Vegas

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DigiPath Labs of Las Vegas, a subsidiary of DigiPath, Inc., on Thursday announced it has entered into a one-year agreement with Euphoria Wellness to conduct comprehensive safety and potency tests on the products Euphoria will sell in its Las Vegas medical marijuana dispensary.

Euphoria Wellness, expected to be the first cannabis dispensary to open in Las Vegas, said it chose to partner with DigiPath Labs as part of its strategy to set the highest medical marijuana patient safety and education standards in the industry.

"DigiPath Labs will analyze samples of products sold by Euphoria Wellness for unsafe levels of contaminants such as heavy metals, microbes, mycotoxins, pesticides, and solvents, which can exacerbate patient health issues," says Todd Denkin, president of DigiPath Labs. "We will also quantify cannabinoid and terpenoid levels and deliver detailed reports that Euphoria's staff can use to help patients."

Comprehensive cannabis potency testing is critical for patient care, according to DigiPath. Cannabis is believed to contain over 400 medicinal compounds, most notably cannabinoids and terpenoids, each of which affects the body differently.

One compound, THC, is known to induce cancerous cell death. Another compound, CBD, keeps certain cancers from spreading. Different compounds can reduce tissue inflammation, treat epilepsy, and fight methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.

Colorado: Marijuana Often Laced With Pesticides, Heavy Metals and Fungus

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Lab tests from Colorado indicate that while the legal cannabis on store shelves is more potent than the marijuana of 30 years ago, it is often contaminated with fungi, pesticides and heavy metals.

"There's a stereotype, a hippy kind of mentality, that leads people to assume that growers are using natural cultivation methods and growing organically," said Andy LaFrate, founder of Charas Scientific, one of eight labs in Colorado certified to test marijuana. "That's not necessarily the case at all."

LaFrate presented his findings this week at a meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Denver.

LaFrate said his group has tested more than 600 strains of marijuana from dozens of producers. Potency tests looked at tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive component responsible for the high. They found that modern cannabis contains THC levels of 18 to 30 percent, double to triple averages from the 1980s.

Breeding for more THC has led to less cannabidiol (CBD), a compound which is also medically beneficial in treating anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, Huntington's, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, seizures and other conditions. Much of the commercial marijuana tested had very little CBD.

"A lot of the time it's below the detection level of our equipment, or it's there at a very low concentration that we just categorize as a trace amount," LaFrate said.
"I've heard a lot of complains from medical patients because somebody claims that a product has a high level of CBD, and it turns out that it actually doesn't."

U.S.: Study Finds Uneven Pesticide Restrictions On Growing Legal Marijuana

PesticideUseInMarijuanaProduction[BeyondPesticides]

Marijuana may be legal in your state for medicinal and recreational use, but are toxic pesticides used in its production?

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A study released on Wednesday of the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana either for medical or recreational use finds a patchwork of state laws and evolving policy that define allowed pesticide use and management practices in cannabis production. This variety of state law is occurring in the absence of federal registration of pesticide use for cannabis production because of its classification as a narcotic under federal law.

The investigation, "Pesticide Use in Marijuana Production: Safety Issues and Sustainable Options," evaluates the state laws governing pesticide use in cannabis production where it is legalized.

"The use of pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis has health implications for those growing the crop, and for users who are exposed to toxic residues through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. "The good news is that five states and DC have adopted rules that require marijuana to be grown with practices that prevent the use of pesticides.

"State officials have an opportunity to restrict all pesticide use at the front end of a growing market, require the adoption of an organic system plan, and set a course to protect health and the environment," Feldman said.

Nevada: DigiPath Gets State Approval For Cannabis Testing Lab In Las Vegas

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DigiPath, Inc., an independent cannabis testing and media firm, on Thursday announced that it has received approval from the state of Nevada for its DigiPath Labs subsidiary to open and operate a cannabis testing laboratory at 6450 Cameron Street, Suite 113, in Las Vegas.

DigiPath Labs is in the process of applying for construction permits, ordering equipment, and hiring staff in anticipation of opening the Cameron Street laboratory. To expedite construction, the company is working with a local architectural firm it engaged during the application process. The lab is expected to open its doors to customers in early 2015.

"We are grateful to the State of Nevada for helping to advance our goal of setting a new benchmark for medical cannabis testing and safety screening," said Todd Denkin, CEO of DigiPath, Inc.

"DigiPath Labs is dedicated to increasing transparency of the ingredients inside cannabis-based products," Denkin said. "We believe that this information will benefit patients and dispensaries by providing them with important information regarding the products being sold for consumption."

DigiPath Labs will screen medicinal cannabis for potentially harmful contaminants, including:

• Solvents
• Pesticides
• Mold
• Heavy metals, including mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium
• Biological toxins, such as aflatoxin, ricin, and botulinum toxins
• Residual organic chemicals used in extraction
• Microbial contaminants including E. coli, salmonella, and Aspergillus

Oregon: Medical Marijuana Sold In Dispensaries Must Be Tested For Mold, Pesticides

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon's new law which allows medical marijuana dispensaries, and creates a registry for them, also comes with another key provision aimed at protecting patients: it requires testing of cannabis for mold, mildew and pesticides.

That puts Oregon in the company of just a few states which require medical marijuana testing, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. Nationally, some cannabis advocates have lobbied states which allow medical marijuana to require lab testing for impurities (and sometimes potency), arguing that patients deserve detailed information about the product before using it.

The 13-member panel in charge of writing rules for Oregon's House Bill 3460 met for a second time on Friday at the state capitol. The committee, made up of lawyers, advocates, law enforcement officials and state administrators, is working through complicated legal and technical issues as it figures out how to regulate an industry which is already booming in Oregon.

The committee is expected to finish drafting the rules by December 1.

Committee facilitator Tom Burns, who oversees Oregon's pharmaceutical drug program, asked the Oregon Department of Agriculture for input on how to proceed with cannabis testing standards. Theodore Bunch, with the state's Pesticide Analytical and Response Center, is heading up that effort and is scheduled to report to the committee on Friday.

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