The King County Council will meet tomorrow afternoon to discuss an ordinance for a county-wide program to test recreational marijuana for banned pesticides.
Pesticides have become a headache for cannabis growers and conscious consumers over the last year. Although the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board allows growers to use 271 approved pesticides, many of which are naturally-derived products such as neem and thyme oils, some products sold in recreational cannabis stores have still tested positive for prohibited pesticides.
According to a staff report, the King County Board of Health noted that contaminated products sold a recreational cannabis stores "could constitute a significant threat to public health and safety."
King County Council member Jeanne Kohl-Welles wants to make sure contaminated products don't slip through the cracks.
Kohl-Welles, who announced plans to create this ordinance in June, has been an advocate for medical marijuana since her days as a state senator. In a previous interview, Kohl-Welles told The Stranger that although WSLCB is charged with regulating cannabis, she was concerned they weren’t "proactively enforcing the rules."
According to the council proposal, the new program would mandate the Department of Public Health create pesticide testing rules and that county inspectors would "procure samples of marijuana products from licensed retailers, have those samples tested at state certified independent labs for prohibited pesticides, and report on the results of the tests." Inspection results would be made public.
If cannabis products are found to test positive for banned pesticides, growers would be reported to the Liquor and Cannabis Board and fined $125 for their first offense. A second offense would cost $250 and fines would double for subsequent violations within a 12-month period. Products could then be recalled and growers could lose their licenses, the proposal stated, though they would be able to appeal the violations.
The testing program would be funded through the state's Marijuana Excise Tax.