State of Colorado “mandatory pesticide testing” does little to address exposure to toxic chemicals in cannabis products

Denver — On Aug. 2, the State of Colorado implemented “mandatory pesticide testing” for the first time. Many consumers may be surprised to learn that a highly taxed industry functioning within significant regulations in licensing, permitting and beyond, has little oversight on the pesticides used on plants that are ultimately consumed by humans.

While Colorado has outlawed many pesticides and approved hundreds more for use, enforcement has been left in the hands of cultivators, leaving the potential that bad actors could take advantage of the system. Today’s regulations barely scratch the surface, requiring testing that will detect just over a dozen of the thousands of potentially harmful chemicals that could end up on this plant.


The industry also grapples with the lack of standardization in Colorado’s licensed labs. With no consistency in machinery or equipment, one test is not the same as the next.

“With Colorado testing for only 13 harmful pesticides, cultivators are essentially directed to operate under the honor code,” said CCC’s Board Chair Ben Gelt. “This means in order to game the system, all a producer must do is use a product unrelated to those 13. There are literally tens of thousands of pesticide products on the market. that have been proven to be harmful to humans. Consumers have increasingly expressed concern about knowing what is in their produce at the grocery store, leading to the labeling of organic products. These same shoppers deserve greater transparency, so they can make smarter decisions about what they are putting into their bodies when they consume cannabis.”

#Whatsinmyweed is built to remind consumers that they insist on buying organic produce and other specialty goods when they shop for food and that they must begin to demand the same options from cannabis producers. A lack of national or state standards for organic, fair trade, pesticide free and other common methods of production continue to leave consumers in the dark with this nascent industry.

“The CCC and #Whatsinmyweed is a great advocate for the health and wellbeing of consumers,” said Peter Barsoom, CEO of premium edibles brand 1906 and founding sponsor of #WIMW. “1906 takes exacting measures to ensure the quality and safety of our product. We want our customers to have total confidence in the fact that they’re getting pesticide-free, consistent and predictable experiences, and we appreciate #WIMW bringing this issue to the forefront as the cannabis industry grows exponentially.”

The #Whatsinmyweed campaign has gathered broad support in legal markets including Colorado, California, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Michigan, Arizona and other states. Founding sponsors of the campaign include L’Eagle, Yerba Buena, Grow Sisters, GrowCentia, Bud Fox, 1906, Mammoth Microbes, Organic Alternatives, High Country Healing, Verde Natural, Dawa Detroit, Stillwater Brands and Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency.