Oregon’s Pesticide-free Regulations

By James Franklin

On December 2, 2016, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued new testing rules in an attempt to ease a backlog which some marijuana producers and processors claim brought parts of the industry to a standstill. These rules are temporary and will be valid until May 30, 2017, meanwhile OHA will be working on a permanent solution for the future.  

Oregon has debated for more than a year now on how to handle pesticides in cannabis products. On October 1st, strict regulations went into place that required testing by an accredited lab of each product for pesticides and other compounds before it hit shelves. While the rules are issued and in place for the benefit of public health, safety comes at a steep price. 

These tests are expensive and time consuming. Costing companies up to six times what they , and taking weeks before they got products back with the results. Worse yet, some companies are required to run these expensive tests for each stage of their products processing. Business owners buy marijuana flowers that were tested by state-certified labs and passed, however, during the extraction process pesticide traces compress together and fail future tests. As a result extracts, edibles and concentrates are in short supply throughout the state. 

The new rules seek to provide relief to the state's medical marijuana program. Since the October release the industry has pushed hard for an overhaul to the state's testing requirements. However the types of pesticides and the levels allowed do not change under the new revision. Instead the adopted testing rules changes the regulations on batch and sample sizes. 

Unfortunately, the effects of additional regulations of sample sizes, engender some business owners to feel that it is a step in the wrong direction. Causing them to test product samples even more than before. 

New regulations always come with a measure of controversy. Some would argue that Oregon's guidelines to pesticide testing in cannabis go above what is required of food items. However, more scientific research is still required on the effects of heating and inhaling marijuana products treated with pesticides. 

The goal of the revision of course is to keep Oregonians employed. Since October many dispensaries have had to lay off workers, and the short supply of product has made several smaller companies go out of business. Look forward to OHA’s new solutions in 2017, as only time will tell how these regulations affect the marijuana industry in Oregon. State officials are trying to protect health and safety, while at the same time securing the financial future of the industry.

Read more about the use of cannabis and pesticides here on the OHA website.