It has been almost a year since the state of Oregon issued the toughest testing lab regulations in the nation.
These rules were set in an attempt to filter out any pesticide contaminated product from dispensary shelves. The Oregon Live newsroom recently gathered a sample of cannabis products from cannabis retail in Portland. The team had these products tested and found that despite being labeled ‘Pesticide-Free’ three of the ten extractions showed contamination at levels that should not reach the public. In a retest, only one test result came back contaminated.
The Oregon cannabis program has been under a watchful eye as they have been referred to as having some of the more stringent cannabis testing laws. Oregon cannabis products must undergo a rigid testing program that ensures each product is analyzed for a total of 59 pesticides. Each testing lab came up with slightly varying results. To read more about the laboratories involved and the testing circle read this article at Oregon Live. What we’d like to talk about are the variances found from one testing lab to the next.
At the moment, the testing lab industry is fragmented even further than the cannabis industry itself. Currently, testing labs are operating under state regulations. But only a fraction of these state regulations cover the methods and equipment that lab technicians run tests on. Without these standards and reagents, we can’t be sure that two labs will come up with the same results for contamination testing, potency testing, or any cannabis testing at all.
As for the extractions coming up positive for pesticides, this could be a classic case of testing a product in the wrong stage of production. A dried, cured cannabis flower could pass the rigorous pesticide testing but this doesn’t mean that the extraction will pass. See once cannabis flower is turned into wax or shatter, trace amounts of pesticides are magnified to a level that will no longer pass state standards. These points make it clear that there is a learning curve with cannabis and the law. Knowing how to monitor the use of pesticides and then productively test for them is something that is still being worked out by lawmakers.
This most recent problem in Oregon only highlights an issue doomed to obstruct cannabis at the national level. There must be standards of methods to cleaning to equipment management, or the consumer might never build trust with the products on the market.