WSLCB Certified Heavy Metal Testing Lab Active

WASHINGTON: Effective April 11, 2019, a lab has been certified by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) to provide heavy metal testing on cannabis products.

WSLCB Certified Heavy Metal Testing Lab

Medicine Creek Analytics

3700 Pacific Hwy E. #400

Fife, WA 98424

 Washington State Department of Health

The Department of Health has rescinded the emergency rule, filed January 24, 2019 temporarily suspending the heavy metal testing requirement. Effective April 18, 2019, all products produced under chapter 246-70 WAC will be required to be tested for heavy metals and no longer required to include “Not tested for heavy metals” on the label.

 

OLCC Issues Marijuana Product Recall For Pesticide Laden Blue Magoo

OREGON:  The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is issuing an immediate health and safety advisory due to the identification of potentially unsafe pesticide residue on retail plant material produced from marijuana cultivated by Emerald Wave Estate, LLC.

The affected marijuana failed a pesticide test for pyrethrins exceeding the Oregon Health Authority action level for this class of pesticide.

Affected products include marijuana flower; the retailer that sold the product has issued a voluntary recall. The marijuana flower was sold at Buds 4 U LLC located at 10692 Highway 126, Suite 4, Mapleton, Oregon.

A wholesaler transferred the product to the retailer before the pesticide results were recorded in the OLCC Cannabis Tracking System (CTS). Buds 4 U sold 82.5 grams to 31 customers between March 8 and March 10, 2017. The retailer noticed the failed pesticide results in the CTS on March 10, 2017 and immediately contacted the OLCC.

The affected marijuana should bear a label that includes one of the following OLCC License numbers:

  • 050-1002850B56E
  • 060-100301304FE
  • 050-1002850B56E

and any of the following package numbers:

  • 1A4010300005B05000000772 – product name: Blue Magoo
  • 1A4010300005B05000000769 – product name: Blue Magoo
  • 1A4010300005911000000005 – product name: Blue Magoo

The remainder of the affected nine pound batch of marijuana flower has been placed on administrative hold, meaning it cannot be lawfully transferred, pending the outcome of an additional pesticide retest. Consumers who have these recalled products should dispose of the products or return them to the retailer where they were purchased.

There have been no reports of illness. The possible health impact of consuming marijuana products with unapproved pesticide residues is unknown. Short and long-term health impacts may exist depending on the specific product, duration, frequency, level of exposure, and route of exposure. Consumers with concerns about their personal health should contact their physician with related questions.

Consumers with questions or concerns about recalled product or pesticide residues in marijuana products are encouraged to contact the product retailer and/or the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222- 1222.

Dr. Rick Freeman: The Big Eco Squeeze

By Dr. Rick Freeman, Exclusive to MJNewsNetwork.com 

COLORADO: The advent of the legal marijuana industry has spawned some scale-up effects. One obvious outcome is that inefficiencies have surfaced as significant liabilities.  Another is that farmers are getting squeezed and are, therefore, compelled to push their agro-ecosystems to maximum short-term productivity.   In this environment, risky and sometimes questionable practices emerge and often result in catastrophe.  The bad press around pesticide abuse is a case in point: in Colorado, this year, agencies have mandated large-scale recalls of edibles, while in Washington, private researchers have identified forbidden pesticides in a variety of products.

This pattern is likely to continue, given the current industry environment, with farmers facing the squeeze from all sides.  The current combination of regulatory structures, low energy prices and low profit margins for farmers almost guarantees a certain level of pesticide abuse, pushing farmers towards over-crowded growing conditions in environments devoid of natural checks on pests and pathogens.

In agricultural ecosystems, most of our pesticide problems follow from management practices that attract pests to vulnerable crops in the first place.  Farmers well know that a dense canopy of luscious, nitrogen-rich cannabis is a giant pest target.  Critters can move happily through the canopy, swinging on webbing, piercing and sucking and having a grand time.  To make matters worse, because these indoor agro-ecosystems are isolated from natural ecosystems, they have no contact with native natural defense systems.   Instead, farmers have to buy, preserve and apply pest-thwarting critters and microbes, which can rack up materials and labor costs.  In many cases – as in an infestation crisis – farmers will deem pesticides to be a more economic choice.

In Washington, the state’s tier system forces over-crowding by mandating area limitations based on canopy area, pushing growers to accommodate as many plants as they can possibly fit.   Under this system, farmers can grow up to 30,000 square feet in a Tier III operation, 10,000 for a T-II and 2,000 for a T-I.  That means that every square foot has premium value and must produce a maximum value.  To add to the fun, spatial limitations encourage  growers to use hydroponic systems – as containers and media are bulky – and hydro spawns pests.  With few other affordable options, pesticide use is an obvious outcome.  In contrast, Colorado marijuana growers are now able to stretch their limbs, since the state has lifted vertical integration provisions that forced most cultivators to grow on-site.  And, having learned from others’s mistakes, Oregon has avoided this pitfall from the beginning.

But, other forces continue to push farmers to crowd too many plants into confined spaces.  In Colorado, where real estate is expensive and square footage is dear, many producers still grow on-site because they are locked into investments from the days of mandated vertical integration.   What’s more, in all states, growers face a tough economic climate, wherein marijuana behaves like a fungible commodity and the price paid to farmers trends ever downward.  Enter cheap fuel, which means cheap electricity, and the compulsion to grow indoors is irresistible.  Equally important, growing indoors is a familiar mode for a large sector of the industry, and farmers do what has proven to work for them.  And, finally, to exasperate the situation, because of federal prohibition, farmers can’t borrow money and buy insurance to buffer their risks.  So, they contain losses with pesticides.

But.  We’re learning.  As consumers continue to step up and demand clean marijuana – and as ecologically-minded farmers emerge and voice their opinions – the political climate will change and regulatory change will follow.  Consumer health and healthy ecosystems are important issues these days, and in the case of marijuana, they are tightly linked.  We’ll live to enjoy clean legal pot.

Oregon Flags Potential Problem With Popular Pesticide Used On Marijuana

OREGON: The Oregon Department of Agriculture on Friday temporarily removed a popular pesticide from its list of chemicals cannabis growers may use on their crop.

Rodger Voelker, a chemist with OG Analytical, a marijuana testing lab in Eugene, said he recently noticed that abamectin, a common insecticide, had turned up in a handful of cannabis samples submitted by growers who said they grew organically. One mentioned he used only Guardian Mite Spray. Voelker asked for a sample of the mite spray, tested it and detected abamectin, an active ingredient not listed on the product label.

Voelker alerted agriculture officials about his results on Thursday since the mite spray is included on the state’s newly released list of pesticides growers may be able to use on their plants. The product is marketed as an all natural pesticide containing products like cinnamon oil and lemon grass oil.

Five Major Types of Extraction 2.0 Clarified

By Fritz Chess, Founder/Chief Scientist, Eden Labs

WASHINGTON: I have been asked to respond to a recent article by Dr. Rien Havens in regards to the safety and efficiency of various Cannabis extraction methods. As the founder of Eden Labs, I have worked with all the methods in the article and our company builds extractors for all these solvents and more, for multiple botanicals. In responding, I hope to close a few loops (pun intended) in the issues raised.

For 20 years our goal has been to promote healthy extractions across every industry. Therefore we applaud Dr. Havens for offering some insight into the world of extraction as we can use all of the help we can get in helping the public, as well as governmental and legislative bodies understand the Pro’s and Con’s of differing methodologies for producing and processing any plant, not just Cannabis sativa L. in either of its cultivar’s.

The most controversial part of the article was the section dealing with the alleged toxicity of co2 extracts so I will address that first along with toxicity issues regarding the other methods mentioned.

The most controversial part of the article was the section dealing with the alleged toxicity of co2 extracts so I will address that first along with toxicity issues regarding the other methods mentioned.  It is absolutely true that water combines with co2 to form carbonic acid which can cause oils to turn rancid. This problem occurs frequently in co2 extractions done at very high pressures (over 5000 psi). However, Cannabis is usually extracted between 800-2,000 psi and at these lower pressures, the concern is that moisture will cause low oil yields and pull chlorophyll. Therefore Eden Labs suggests co2 operators reduce the moisture content of their herb below 10%.

As long as this important step is followed, no moisture issues will occur unless the co2 is “wet” when purchased. Most rancid oils have more to do with improper storage. I have been in many botanical extraction facilities (Kava Kava, Sandalwood, Echinacea, Cannabis etc.) and seen containers of extracted oils in open containers sitting on shelves at room temperature. Not good. Note: you’ll notice that Hemp seed oil is always in the refrigerated section of a store. Cannabis oil should be kept refrigerated.

The other toxicity issue was the ability of co2 to pull pesticides and other chemicals out of plant material. This is true as well. It is also true that all the solvents listed as better alternatives would also pull these chemicals. Co2, ethanol, butane, propane and ether are all non-polar solvents. Although they are all at different points on the polarity scale, they all are in the range where oil is soluble in them which means that most, if not all, of these other agricultural chemicals are also soluble in all of the listed solvents. Which brings up a point that should never go unsaid when this issue is raised…all consumable botanical products should be grown organically. That’s the bottom line.

The same pesticides that are in Cannabis products are ubiquitous throughout our food supply. It is hoped by many in the Cannabis industry that we will help lead the way towards a healthier future through better production methods. Any of the protocols listed in Dr. Havens article would be superior to the conventional hexane extraction that is common in the food industry.

Having said that, here are all the contamination issues with the solvents in the article: co2, as mentioned, can have water. Ethanol can have acetone and methanol that form during the fermentation process. Propane and butane can be contaminated with a host of impurities including, but not limited to, pentane, heptane, heavy metals, and what people call “mystery oil” which is pipeline lubricant. Steep Hill Labs has documented this. With proper research, all of these solvents can be procured in a pure form so contamination is avoided.

The final issue was the source of co2 and the other solvents. Unfortunately, every solvent in the article is mostly made from petrochemicals. Even ethanol is often synthesized from chemicals derived from crude oil. It is possible to source ethanol and co2 that is produced naturally by fermenting plant sugars. A wonderful addition to our industry would be a cellulosic ethanol plant that takes waste plant fiber from hemp and cannabis production and converts it to ethanol and co2 to be used for extraction.

It should also be noted that co2 and ethanol have the added benefit of being disinfectants. Bacteria, viruses and molds will be killed by these solvents although molds will not necessarily be rendered harmless. Propane and butane  extracts, on the other hand, will actually attract certain types of bacteria that feed on hydrocarbons. For this reason, it is always advisable to double wash these extracts with ethanol to sterilize and to purge the trace amounts of hydrocarbon that become trapped in the thick oil.

As to the notion that co2 is too costly and inefficient, my first thought was that it sounds like he is describing our competitors! Eden Labs has the fastest and most efficient co2 extractors on the market. While it is true that a first stage hydrocarbon extraction is far faster and cheaper than other methods, by the time you figure in the time of the residual solvent purge and the cost of meeting the safety requirements, all the perceived advantages disappear. In addition, it is clearly evident and more cost effective to build out a production facility with the gratitude of local governmental bodies and the medical sector. This is a nascent industry, it has challenges and we feel our responsibility is to offer a path of least resistance and efficacy for our clients.

In conclusion, we have found that on a cost/benefit comparison, ethanol is most efficient at small scale production. On larger scale commercial/industrial production co2 wins, which has been proven by the hops industry.

 

Marijuana Industry Could Be Uprooted By Pesticide Lawsuit

COLORADO: The marijuana industry may be booming in Colorado, but pot entrepreneurs face a very big problem: pesticides.

Two marijuana users, including a cancer patient, filed a lawsuit last week against a pot business that they claimed used an unhealthy pesticide to grow its weed. The pesticide in question is Eagle 20 EW, a fungicide often used on grapes and hops.

The chemicals, used to stave off mites, mildew and other pests, could also be harmful to humans when used on a product that is later burned for inhalation. Eagle 20, in particular, contains a chemical called myclobutanil that produces toxic hydrogen cyanide gas when burned.

What Exactly Are You Smoking? Determination Of Pesticide Residues In Cannabis Smoke

CALIFORNIA:  The present study was conducted in order to quantify to what extent cannabis consumers may be exposed to pesticide and other chemical residues through inhaled mainstream cannabis smoke.

Three different smoking devices were evaluated in order to provide a generalized data set representative of pesticide exposures possible for medical cannabis users. Three different pesticides, bifenthrin, diazinon, and permethrin, along with the plant growth regulator paclobutrazol, which are readily available to cultivators in commercial products, were investigated in the experiment. Smoke generated from the smoking devices was condensed in tandem chilled gas traps and analyzed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Recoveries of residues were as high as 69.5% depending on the device used and the component investigated, suggesting that the potential of pesticide and chemical residue exposures to cannabis users is substantial and may pose a significant toxicological threat in the absence of adequate regulatory frameworks. [Read more…]

What Exactly Are You Smoking? Determination Of Pesticide Residues In Cannabis Smoke

CALIFORNIA:  The present study was conducted in order to quantify to what extent cannabis consumers may be exposed to pesticide and other chemical residues through inhaled mainstream cannabis smoke.

Three different smoking devices were evaluated in order to provide a generalized data set representative of pesticide exposures possible for medical cannabis users. Three different pesticides, bifenthrin, diazinon, and permethrin, along with the plant growth regulator paclobutrazol, which are readily available to cultivators in commercial products, were investigated in the experiment. Smoke generated from the smoking devices was condensed in tandem chilled gas traps and analyzed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Recoveries of residues were as high as 69.5% depending on the device used and the component investigated, suggesting that the potential of pesticide and chemical residue exposures to cannabis users is substantial and may pose a significant toxicological threat in the absence of adequate regulatory frameworks. [Read more…]

University of New Haven Developing New Method To Test Marijuana For Mold, Other Contaminants

CONNECTICUT:  The microscope at the University of New Haven, set at 10-times magnification, shows a marijuana leaf covered with dozens of tiny bumps. It’s mold, and someone, somewhere could be smoking similarly contaminated pot and not have a clue.

Heather Miller Coyle, a forensic botanist and associate professor at the university, says all sorts of nasty things not visible to the naked eye have been found in marijuana — mold, mildew, insect parts, salmonella and E. coli, to name a few.

That’s why Coyle and her students earlier this year began developing a new process to detect contaminants in marijuana through DNA profiling and analysis. The aim is to be able to identify potentially harmful substances through a testing method that could make the analysis easier and quicker for labs across the country in the developing industry of marijuana quality control testing. [Read more…]