OLYMPIA 03/02/2022 – The Board of the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) today adopted final rules to require pesticide testing on all cannabis products. In addition, these updated rules also allow the LCB to test cannabis products for heavy metals on a random basis or as part of an investigation. The rules will be effective April 2, 2022. Additional time will be allowed for products already in the system to sell through.
“These rules reflect years of hard work and engagement between LCB staff, licensees and labs,” said Board Chair David Postman. “Testing for pesticides and heavy metals adds a deeper layer of confidence for consumers that these products are free of chemical or biological residuals.”
According to the Cannabis Industry Journal, heavy metals are common environmental contaminants resulting from industrial activities such as mining operations, industrial waste, automotive emissions, and farm/house hold water run-off. They affect the water and soil, and become concentrated in plants, animals, pesticides and the sediments used to make fertilizers.
First Producer Licenses Issued in March 2014
Since the first producer and processor licenses were issued in March 2014, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has developed criteria that determines which pesticides may be used on cannabis. Acceptable pesticides are posted on Washington State University’s Pesticide Information Center Online database. These pesticides are generally mild and considered safe for human consumption. In cases where unapproved pesticides are suspected to have been used in cannabis production, the LCB has a contract with WSDA to do ad hoc testing for investigation and enforcement purposes.
While pesticide and heavy medical testing is required for the higher testing standards required for medical cannabis products, Washington State is the latest state to require testing for all products. The LCB provides a list of private sector labs that are approved to test pesticides on the Frequently Requested Lists page of its website.
Workgroup to Review Rules Efficacy
Later this year, the LCB will convene a diverse workgroup of stakeholders including: legislators, industry members, labs, public health and prevention representatives and consumers. The workgroup will take a broad look at the rules after they have been in effect to gauge whether they were meeting their intended purpose. The rules promote the overarching goal of the Board to protect public health and safety, and help to ensure that all cannabis products sold within the I-502 market are safe for all consumers.