BERKELEY, Calif. – More than four out of five cannabis samples tested recently by a Califorinia lab showed residue from pesticides.
A report from Steep Hill on the prevalence of pesticide contamination in the medical cannabis supply chain in California noted that 84.3% of cannabis samples submitted in its Berkeley lab tested positive for pesticide residues, which is significantly higher than expected.
Of paramount concern is the extremely high level of Myclobutanil detected in cannabis samples tested by Steep Hill, which is more than 65% of all samples.
Myclobutanil, typically sprayed on California grapes, almonds and strawberries, is legally listed as a “general use pesticide,” but heating up the chemical – as is the case when smoking cannabis – converts Myclobutanil into Hydrogen Cyanide, a Schedule 3 substance under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Of paramount concern is the extremely high level of Myclobutanil detected in cannabis samples tested by Steep Hill, which is in excess of 65% of all samples.
Jmichaele Keller, President and CEO of Steep Hill, said in making the announcement, “Those in the cannabis community who feel that all cannabis is safe are not correct given this data – smoking a joint of pesticide-contaminated cannabis could potentially expose the body to lethal chemicals,” said Jmichaele Keller, Steep Hill president/CEO. “As a community, we need to address this issue immediately and not wait until 2018.”
Currently, the city of Berkeley is alone in establishing rigid limitations for pesticide testing on medical cannabis in California. As newspapers have pointed out in Colorado and Washington State, pesticide contamination is a massive problem in regulated “recreational cannabis markets.”
California will not have testing regulations in place until 2018. With California voting on Proposition 64 this November, Steep Hill seeks to work with the newly established Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation to establish statewide limits on residual pesticides.
In Steep Hill’s analysis of the pesticide testing performed in Northern California it reviewed the publicly available pesticide results from SC Labs and found they detected pesticides in less than 3% of the samples tested over a 30-day period ending October 10. During the same period Steep Hill tested and reported pesticides in over 84% of cannabis, which would have failed under Oregon’s pesticide regulations.
While Steep Hill was developing its new pesticide test, it subcontracted its pesticide testing to CW Analytical Laboratories. In reviewing the test results from CW Analytical it was discovered that the lab was only detected pesticides in 20.8% of the samples tested.
“Steep Hill is about ensuring people get safe cannabis and giving the community the tools to make cannabis safer for everybody,” said Don Land, chief scientific consultant for Steep Hill. “Once people know what’s there, we fully expect the industry will be responsive and responsible, and those that are not will ultimately be judged by their customers.
“When we introduced our accurate residual solvent test for concentrates in 2013, almost everybody had contamination in their products, at first. Now, just a couple of years later, almost nobody fails. Our solutions helped the industry become responsible.”
“As far as we’re concerned, medicine should always be clean, safe, and effective,” Keller said. “Unfortunately, our recent study discovered that 83.2% of the samples assessed by our triple quadrupole mass spectrometer contained pesticides that would have failed under the Oregon regulations. As of today, this tainted product could be sold in most dispensaries throughout the State of California without any way of informing the patients about the risks of pesticide exposure
“With the State of California preparing to enact of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act by January 2018, now is the time to get pesticides under control. If California expects to supply any adult with cannabis in the future, we must first focus on protecting the existing patients throughout the state.”