Testing Of Colorado Marijuana For Contaminants To Begin This Year

COLORADO:  Months after ordering tests to determine the potency of Colorado-grown pot, state regulators are zeroing in on another concern: How sick one can get from a bad batch?

Sometime in the coming months, recreational marijuana producers must begin testing for bacteria, fungus, heavy metals and solvents before their products reach store shelves. Four labs in Colorado will test for levels of E. coli, salmonella and aspergillus, a fungus that can cause allergic reactions and lung infections. They’ll also look for butane and other solvents used to refine marijuana into concentrated oils, as well as heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.

Businesses that fail to meet purity benchmarks cannot sell anything from that batch.

But opinions differ on how prevalent, and how dangerous, such substances are in marijuana sold in Colorado’s burgeoning pot industry. The new requirements do not apply to pesticides, which aren’t subject to across-the-board testing. Nor is medical marijuana regulated for contaminants. And it’s unclear when the testing mandate will take effect.