“Safety First” needs to become the industry’s mantra, even more so in the extraction producer market

In the absence of Federal regulations, the marijuana industry has come a long way to arrive at its own set of guidelines and standards in terms of what constitutes a “safe” product. Unfortunately, the same lack of Federal oversight has meant that each state has crafted its own rules. California is now on the threshold of creating its own standards, that will apply to both medical and recreational marijuana produced. Until the state issues it’s regulations, and licenses the labs, we remain in a grey area with a generally-agreed-upon set of principles, but no real law to guide us.

Pesticide use is not a dirty-little secret of the industry: it’s hardly a secret. There are dangerous chemicals being used, appearing in both flower and finished product, that are carried in stores across CA. Just last week, independent testing by NBC4’s investigative unit found high concentrations of pesticides in many products across Los Angeles. Steep Hill Labs, who assisted NBC with the investigation, found 41 out of 44 samples, or 93 percent, tested positive for pesticides, at levels high enough that those products would’ve been banned for sale in some other states that currently regulate the use of pesticides in marijuana products.

CA growers that don’t start adapting their growing practices will be in for a rude awakening when regulations come in next year. Extraction producers need to be even more aware of what went into their flower: the process of extraction not only concentrates marijuana’s compounds, but also any pesticides used in production.

As the judges at the Emerald Cup in Sonoma noted this year: “there are many ways to create an artisan product with the highest grade of extracts in demand, but they ALL start with a clean plant/source material. Quality in = Quality out (you get what you give). With the rates of how common toxic pesticide residues are caked throughout some of the most sophisticated/closed-loop C02, BHO, distillation types of extraction equipment, and how common those residues carry over and contaminate many further subsequent batches of raw material (even if it is organic), it reinforces the notion that any process has the potential to create the highest quality of Cannabis extract, or the lowest, all starting with the quality of the source material, which include the ethics of farmers and farming practices.”

Quality in = quality out, is an equation that can’t be disputed. Know your flower before concentrating it.