Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries must test cannabis for mold, mildew and pesticides before it can be sold to patients. It seems like a logical move for anyone trying to put out clean product to patients, but so far few other medical marijuana states actually require testing by law.
But exactly how they plan to test and what they plan to test for is still up in the air.
The decision is part of an ongoing discussion regarding Oregon's House Bill 3460, which legalized the already prolific medical marijuana industry at the state level and set up to regulate the largely unregulated shops.
The 13-member committee charged with overseeing the rulemaking around HB3460 meets this Friday to iron out more details, including who will do the actual testing and what acceptable levels of mold, mildew and pesticides might be. Cannabis testing standards will likely be set, in part, by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The state is also tapping into the Oregon Pesticide Analytical Response Center for their knowledge.
Tom Burns, director of the state pharmaceutical drug program admits that all of this is new territory for the state. He says it is still unclear whether moldy, mildew or pesticide-filled herb would be pulled from the shelves or just sold with that information made clear to the patients.
"This testing thing is really going to be very complicated," he told OregonLive.com.
We would hope for the former, though lets really hope the growers aren't seeing any of those issues in the first place. State officials admit that there might not be much data with regards to tolerance levels for inhaled substances like there are with farmed vegetables.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signed HB 3460 in August. Patients are still allowed to grow their own cannabis as they were able to do before, but dispensaries must now register with the state and purchase cannabis from state-licensed growers. No new taxes were passed to create the dispensary program. Licensing fees cover the cost for regulations and oversight.