Organic Cannabis

What’cha smoking? White Widow sprinkled with Sour Diesel kief.

Got any pyrethins in there? ... Wait, pyrethins?

Pyrethrins are pesticides allowed on Oregon-grown cannabis and classified as natural products, so they may be there. But what about other pesticides? What are you smoking?

Oregon requires growers and producers to test for a more extensive list of pesticides than any other state, but this list is still too lenient to ensure top quality, natural cannabis.

“Pesticide residues are a public health concern for the cannabis consumer,” according to Wesley Maguire, lead pesticide analyst for Pixis Labs in Portland. “We can be confident that the cannabis tested in our lab has low levels of the regulated pesticides, but we don’t know what other products might be applied by unscrupulous growers.”

This status quo isn’t good enough for many Northwest cannabis enthusiasts. Consumers are demanding clean, organically-grown cannabis, prompting the development of new certification standards for the growers and producers who want their natural products to stand out among a glut of cannabis products in the market. 

 “We want to lead the industry in clean, safe, high quality cannabis,” says Sean Collins, Crop Consultant for Oreganic Grown, Inc. “There are a lot of growers out there pushing for a certification that will legitimize their natural practices.”

Only the USDA can certify a crop “organic,” but the Feds won’t touch regulations on marijuana, because it is a Schedule I prohibited substance. The OLCC/ODA will have to permit a certifying body to issue certifications to set the standard for “clean cannabis,” says Collins. 

It’s also up to Oregonians to set the bar high for lab services.

“Faulty lab results aren’t doing anyone any favors,” said Derrick Tanner, general manager at Pixis. “It’s up to us to provide ethical, legally defensible data to uphold the integrity of the Oregon industry.”    

To ensure accurate testing results, labs must adhere to rigid standards of quality control required for accreditation by the International Standards Organization (ISO) and The NELAC Institute (TNI). But few labs conform to these standards and enforcing laboratory compliance is not a top priority for local regulatory committees.  Recently, laboratories in Washington, Nevada, and Colorado have been shut down and suspended for not reporting accurate results or for producing inaccurate data. It’s only a matter of time before the OLCC starts cracking down on Oregon labs. 

With no clear timeline for the eventual federal legalization of the cannabis industry, there is no input from agencies like EPA, FDA, and USDA to determine safe and legal levels of pesticides in these crops.

So, are you smoking organic weed?

Technically, no. Nationally the USDA has an established certification program for Organic Crops. There is no certification on a state level for Organic Mary Jane.

Will Oregon be an industry leader for the clean, safe, best cannabis? Will we have the most ethically produced lab results and a community with the initiative to beat the curve? We hope so. 


Kelly O’Connor, client liaison at Pixis Labs. Please email Koconnor@pixislabs.com for questions re lab services.