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Pesticides In Marijuana Are A Real Concern In Alaska

Every now and then, you might read reports of marijuana from licensed cultivators being pulled off of the shelves due to the use of pesticides that are declared illegal or unsafe. In states where marijuana can be grown and processed, organizations that oversee the safety of marijuana and marijuana products are working to quickly combat and correct any issues that arise regarding mandating the use of only accepted and legal pesticides.

If you’ve been keeping up with marijuana industry news, you’ve probably seen or at least glanced over this information. But you will see no such reports coming out of Alaska, where there are no rules or stipulations for pesticide use. The state does not require pesticide testing, nor does it have any regulations about how to use pesticides safely.

The rules for cannabis cultivation were drafted in 2015 and excluded pesticide testing due to concerns that the cost of this testing would be detrimental to budding marijuana companies that didn’t have much revenue to spare for additional testing costs. Alaskan companies are, however, forced to test their products for potency and microbial contaminants such as mold.

The Department of Environmental Conservation in Alaska oversees the use of pesticides in agriculture throughout the state, but the amount of advice that they can provide to growers is minimal. The basic information that’s offered consists primarily of which products are and are not legal to use. That’s not much to go on.

This lack of information plagues the growing industry because there isn’t much information to be gathered in the first place. Research simply has not been conducted regarding how these pesticides can affect human health when smoked. The closest comparison would be tobacco, but there isn’t any testing because of how damaging smoking tobacco already is to the human body.

Colorado, Washington and Oregon have developed their own lists of approved pesticides that are safe to use in the growth of marijuana. In Washington there are 300 such pesticides considered permissible to use for this purpose. For Alaska, officials believe that developing such a list would prove to be a burdensome amount of work.

“We’re just not there yet,” said Erika McConnell of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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