What are the chances that you accidentally picked up contaminated weed from the dispensary? According to industry experts, the odds aren’t in your favor. In fact, harmful contaminants are surprisingly common in retail marijuana.
States like Oregon and Colorado are working to address this issue. In those states, cannabis must pass rigorous screening before being sold in a dispensary. But in other places, most notably California, testing is much more lax. As a result, an alarmingly high proportion of retail weed could be contaminated.
Pesticide-Contaminated Weed: California And Beyond
Steep Hill Labs is one of the top cannabis-testing companies in the U.S. And they say that a disturbing percentage of retail weed in the U.S. could be contaminated.
Take California for example. California is the largest cannabis market in the U.S. The Golden State now does $2.7 billion in annual cannabis sales. And that’s just medical weed. Now that the state has legalized recreational weed, that number is likely to get even larger.
But here’s the problem. A lot of that weed could very likely be contaminated. According to Steep Hill Labs, the majority of weed products tested in California would fail in states with stronger regulation.
For example, they said that if California had the same testing requirements as Oregon, 84 percent of California’s cannabis products would fail.
But this problem isn’t unique to California. The Association of Commercial Cannabis Laboratories (ACCL) estimated that as much as half the cannabis tested around the country contains pesticides.
By “using state-of-the-art” screening technology, the ACCL said it can now detect more contaminants than ever before. After numerous tests, they concluded that “this problem is larger and more complex than anyone initially suspected.”
So how serious is all this contamination? To give you an idea, let’s take a look at a pesticide called myclobutanil. This chemical is commonly used by growers to prevent fungal infections that could wipe out entire crops.
But the problem is that when myclobutanil burns, it turns into hydrogen cyanide, a compound that’s super toxic to humans. That means that if you smoke weed that’s got that pesticide on it, you’re breathing in all those poisonous fumes. And yet, despite the risk factors, 66 percent of cannabis products tested in California still contained myclobutanil.
The Final Hit: Tips For Consumers
In light of the high prevalence of contaminated weed, there are a couple things you can do to protect yourself. For starters, avoid deals that seem too good to be true. If you see a shop offering you an ounce for $100, watch out. They could be trying to get rid of contaminated product.
Additionally, always ask about where your weed came from. Look for cannabis companies that run their weed through rigorous lab testing first. And be sure that the results came back clean.
In the meantime, make it clear that you want strict testing requirements put in place. As new cannabis laws take shape, there’s plenty of room for consumers to make their voices heard. Let lawmakers and industry players know that clean weed is a top priority.