Contaminated cannabis products are still making it into the hands of Oregon consumers, despite efforts to enforce super-strict testing regulations.
Oregon issued the toughest cannabis testing rules in the country nine months ago, chief of which was that cannabis must be tested for 59 pesticides and then labeled as such before it can be sold. Now, following an investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive, officials acknowledge that some pesticide-tainted products are still reaching the public.
The newsroom purchased a small sample of cannabis products from Portland stores and had them tested. While most of the 10 cannabis extracts came back showing that they passed the standards, three products showed contamination at levels that should have kept them from being sold. During another round of testing, however, only one came back contaminated.
The Oregonian/OregonLive writes that the experiment “shows the state and the industry struggling to get a handle on how to monitor pesticide use as they contend with public health implications for consumers.”
Oregon’s exhaustive approach involves requiring a network of state-licensed cannabis labs to test products for pesticide and potency before they can be sold. Colorado and Washington, by contrast, rely on state agriculture labs to conduct random tests of cannabis crops and field complaints.
That said, Andre Ourso, a manager for the health authority, said Oregon’s system isn’t a promise that every cannabis product is totally untainted.
"I don't think it's reasonable for the general public to think that everything is 100 percent clean and safe," said Ourso. "What we do as regulators is decrease the risk that something that would have an adverse health effect on the public would be consumed. I think these rules really do minimize those risks."