Pubdate: Sun, 28 Jun 2015
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2015 The Oregonian
Authors: Andy Olson and Jeff Barker
Note: Republican Andy Olson, of Albany, represents Oregon House 
District 15, and Democrat Jeff Barker, of Aloha, represents Oregon 
House District 28.


The recent Oregonian/OregonLive investigation, "A Tainted High," 
brought needed awareness on illegal use of pesticides in the medical 
marijuana industry. It also shines a light on what's to come 
regarding pesticide use on recreational marijuana.

The pesticide residue levels reported in the article are concerning, 
especially considering that they are consumed. The Oregon Department 
of Agriculture, which regulates pesticides, and the Oregon Health 
Authority, which regulates medical marijuana, should be taking this 
issue seriously and conducting a thorough investigation.

Pesticides are registered and regulated by the Environmental 
Protection Agency at the federal level. Since marijuana is still 
federally classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, there are 
no pesticides approved for use on marijuana. This means that every 
application of a pesticide on marijuana is in violation of federal 
and state law. Unfortunately, some marijuana growers are ignoring 
those laws and using pesticides on their crops. This is not only 
illegal, but unsafe for patients and other consumers.

Before a pesticide is approved for use it goes through 10-12 years of 
development and testing. It is then labeled for use on specific crops 
at specific rates that have been scientifically verified for efficacy 
and safety.

None of this testing has been done on marijuana, so growers have no 
idea what pesticides, or how much, are safe to use. That is why it is 
not surprising to see The Oregonian/OregonLive find residues of 
pesticides on marijuana products that are far above the levels 
considered as acceptable by the EPA on food crops.

The scary truth is that the end users of these products have no 
assurances that they are not being exposed to pesticides at 
potentially harmful levels. This is particularly concerning as the 
products tested by The Oregonian/OregonLive are for medicinal 
purposes and are often used by a very vulnerable population that may 
already have compromised immune systems. No one should have to worry 
about whether their medicine is tainted with misused pesticides.

As we embark on the further legalization of marijuana after the 
passage of Measure 91, an entirely new regulatory structure is being 
created. Strong regulations are needed to ensure that marijuana 
products meet the same standards as other products on the market that 
people consume. These kinds of regulations are already in place for 
growers and food processors, but may seem onerous to marijuana 
growers who have operated outside the confines of regulation for many 
years. That is not an excuse to continue to ignore our laws.

Pesticide labels are the law and must be followed by all users. That 
includes marijuana growers.

It's time for marijuana products to meet the same laws as every other 
product in this state. Our public and environmental health depend on it.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom