Arizona Cannabis shops have recently witnessed an influx in recalls from the state due to pesticides being found in marijuana plants as growers battle insect infestations. Arizona is becoming a major advocate in the ongoing legal battle that is positioning consumers and shop owners against growers and demanding that all recreational and medical marijuana be tested for contaminants. Because the laws have not passed for recreational use in Arizona, the growers and sellers have never been officially obligated to test their plants for contaminants.
With many of the concentrated variations of the drug like dab and edibles hitting the market, there could be an increased risk of concentrated pesticides that go along with the concentrated dose of THC. There are currently more than 90,000 verified patient / card holders that could be affected by this but would never know. Back in 2010 when The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act was drafted, there were no legal requirements that forced accountability on growers and therefore testing was not mandatory by law as citizens were concerned it would effect the price of the product.
Some states outside of Arizona have implemented voluntary testing programs that award growers and dispensaries that adhere to strict organic growing guidelines and intern receive an enhanced seal of approval by the State that shows customers that the products they are buying are “Green” or “pesticide free” similar to organically grown produce in the grocery store labeled with “Certified Organic” from the FDA.
Medical marijuana laws in Arizona require dispensaries to produce well documented papers for the State about the pesticides used in their crops, however there is no testing beyond that and no legal obligation by growers or store owners to actually test the product beyond that. We contacted Green Home Pest Control in Phoenix to ask about their approach to organic, green, pest control for gardens and consumable plant growth and they had this to say:
“There are many alternatives to traditional pest control with pesticides, but each scenario is different. There are variables that need to be taken into account before determining which type of pest control is right for your garden. Are the plants indoor or outdoor? Are there other plants in the garden that could be attracting intruders? Simple things like this should be considered before attempting a solution. Fortunately we have encountered just about every solution possible and should be able to help with anyone pest control needs in the Phoenix metro area”.
Until the Department of Health decides to implement regulatory laws demanding thorough testing you may never know how contaminated your plants are. Regardless of this, without there being a mandate in the medical-marijuana laws, laws that require strict testing could be deemed as an extreme burden by some Arizona dispensary owners. There are legal obligations the state has to protect it’s citizens and we would not be surprised to see more strict testing laws in the near future.
Pesticides have not legally been connected to any harm on consumers while ingesting medicinal marijuana. It’s 2017 though, and more people are buying organic than ever before. Consumers are tired of big business contaminating the food chain for profit and should be acknowledged that marijuana consumers will follow with their consumption of smokeable and edible marijuana. The problem at the moment is that the growers and dispensaries have no reason to go through the extra step of growing green and testing the products. Until they are legally bound by state law they will have the freedom to grow and sell with minimal government intervention. Shop owners are already aware that all sorts of pesticides exist in the plants and concentrates they purchase, but there is just not motivation to encourage green pest control as long as the law isn’t mandatory.