Cracking down on pot pesticides

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Cracking down on pot pesticides

Post by LemonTree on Sat May 02, 2015 2:21 pm

News that Denver regulators have put millions of
dollars of marijuana on hold due to pesticide
concerns ought to be welcome information.

This, folks, is exactly what should happen with pot
tax revenue — making the product safer while
ensuring that it is not illicitly diverted to juveniles or
the black market.

The 21.5 percent combined state and Denver tax on
retail products is high. For that additional expense,
consumers should get peace of mind that the
marijuana is clean and free of damaging pesticides.

They should also appreciate that plants grown in legitimate warehouses are likely safer than pot in
the black market that was grown with who knows what.

However, there remains more than one glitch in the system.

The city may be flush with tax revenue to investigate claims that the wrong type of pesticides are
being used, but the state's lab that examines the plants does not have commensurate funding.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture lab is funded out of pesticide application fees. The
meager staff is about a month behind on testing pot for pesticides.

That means when the city puts thousands of plants on hold — as it did recently at a Denver retail
operation — it may take weeks for those plants to be cleared for sale.

Thankfully, a portion of House Bill 1367 is designed to give the Colorado Department of
Agriculture $300,000 to step up its pesticide enforcement, including lessening the load on the lab.

Another glitch is that no pesticide is federally
approved for use on marijuana, which is still
illegal under federal law. Pesticide regulations for
every other crop start at the federal level. The
lack of guidance creates confusion for the
hundreds of pot growers.

The state has developed a list of recommended
pesticides. But the state cannot do the same type
of risk assessment as the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. Such are the problems of an
industry trying to invent itself for a crop that is
still not entirely legal.


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