An article was published in the Stranger on Oct. 29th Stranger Article that pointed out WSDA testing has found illegal or inappropriate levels of pesticides in more than 40% of the nearly 400 samples tested from the Washington cannabis marketplace. These results included both pesticides not allowed for use on cannabis in Washington and high levels of allowed pesticides.
These are startling numbers for a developing industry and clearly show the need for work on many sides. Washington does not currently mandate pesticide testing but is considering rule changes that could include it soon. Many may just be bad actors without regard for their customers. But some are likely good actors with bad housekeeping habits creating cross contamination. Regardless, now is the time to adopt best practices and safety protocols to protect employees and prevent recalls that can damage your brand.
Pesticides are a broad term, defined by the WSDA as: Any substance or mixture of substances, including plant regulators, defoliants, desiccants and spray adjuvants, intended to prevent, destroy, control, repel, or mitigate any insect, rodent, snail, slug, fungus, weed, and any other form of plant or animal or virus, except viruses on or in a living person or other animal. This includes insecticides, miticides, herbicides, fungicides, rooting hormones, and disinfectants.
All marijuana production and processing operations should have a current list of all the chemicals present at their facility and the SDS sheets. It is very common that one of those chemicals present also requires a further understanding of the label and how that can invoke the EPA’s Worker Protection Standard, respirators, central posting and more. This includes things like Zerotol or Sanidate that you may be using for cleaning and not in the growing process at all.
Combining good housekeeping practices and standard operating procedures, you can eliminate the potential for cross contamination that can lead to a false positive or elevated level of an approved pesticide. The proper storage of chemical with limited access is crucial as well as taking precautions with contaminated personal protective equipment. Great resources exist at the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative.
At Think Happy Consulting we know how to combine all these elements to construct the right program to fit your operation and protect your employees. Don’t be haunted by compliance.