Following the lead of other Adult Use markets like Oregon and Colorado, the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is on track to create new rules that would implement pesticide and heavy metal testing for all marijuana product sold in the Washington marketplace. The public comment period for the rule making closed on Oct. 24th, so draft rules will be presented soon, but it is clear from recent comments that there is consensus support amongst WSLCB leadership for adopting the Department of Health standards that includes pesticide and heavy metal testing (Cannabis Observer, Nov 14th 2018) .
It was also announced last week that the Washington Department of Agriculture has requested its own budget funding for enforcement of pesticide rules. In previous years the WSDA has received some funding from the WSLCB for their cannabis related functions, but this action send a clear signal that regulators intend to crack down on improper pesticide use in light of recent testing showing more than 40% of product is currently failing for pesticides. The funding request promises a minimum of 32 random licensee visits. (WSDA Budget Action) Currently investigators only respond to complaints. This would be a major shift and put all producers and processors in Washington under the gun to be sure their operation is complying with the complicated set of rules that govern chemicals identified as pesticides.
These are very strong signals that increased enforcement and testing need to be taken seriously by licensees. Now is the time to take a good look at your operation. The expense of an enforcement action or a recall could be devastating. WSLCB Enforcement has also signaled they will be increasing action against retail stores that do not have all the supporting documentation like pesticide testing certificates on hand for customers. So be sure your best practices include always sending out all the required information to processors and retail stores to provide the most transparency.
Do you have a current list of the chemicals you have in your facility? How are chemicals stored at your facility? Who has access to chemicals? Are you familiar with all the labels? Do you have the current SDS sheets? What kind of training do you provide your staff? Do you have a recall plan?
The label is the law, so make sure you and your staff understand what you are working with and the steps you need to take to protect yourself with personal protective equipment, communication, and training. Think Happy Consulting can simplify the process with a written Chemical Hazard Communication Plan, employee training that meets EPA requirements, and the central posting and record-keeping templates you need. Don’t be haunted.
Be proactive and protect your employees and investment with an effective occupational health and safety program that covers pesticides and other cannabis specific safety topics. Our plans can be adapted to the needs of any state including Alaska, Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine!