Report: Contaminated cannabis still passing Oregon tests

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Despite strict efforts by Oregon regulators to keep pesticide-tainted marijuana from reaching store shelves, some contaminated cannabis is still slipping past the state’s testing labs.

The Oregonian, the state’s largest newspaper, recently conducted a study to determine the success of Oregon’s testing program in halting the sale of tainted marijuana.

The newspaper purchased a small sample of cannabis extracts from Portland marijuana stores and took the samples to two labs for two rounds of testing. In the first round, three of the 10 products contained higher levels of pesticide than the state allows. But when the samples were retested, some results differed.

The CEO of a cannabis company whose extract tests produced different results decided to run his product through the process again. His extract came back clean of pesticides in the second set of tests, the newspaper reported. But the CEO was “exasperated” by the varied results because he estimates he spends $40,000 a week on testing in a state whose MJ products are tested for 59 pesticides.

Though the study was limited, The Oregonian reported, it demonstrates the prevalence of pesticide use among cannabis growers. It also spotlights a problem that has plagued Oregon’s industry since it started the testing process.

In late 2016, three of Oregon’s state agencies sent warnings to cannabis growers about pesticide use, pointing out they can satisfy Health Authority pesticide standards yet still violate the state’s Pesticide Control Act if any illegal pesticides are detected. The state then revised its rules to decrease the frequency of testing.