Follow us:

Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

June 19, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Marijuana, pesticides and mold

A Seattle farm Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times

A Seattle farm
Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times

Muraco Kyashna-Tocha, the Seattle marijuana-dispensary manager I quote in my June 19 column, has a cause I didn’t get to in the column: the need for product testing for pesticide residues and mold.

She offers me a sheaf of studies. Here is one from the Journal of Toxicology, 2013, by Nicholas Sullivan, et al. It found pesticide residue that was “alarmingly high and of serious concern.” The exposure to pesticide was greatest if smoked with a glass pipe but much less if filtered through a water pipe. (It didn’t test a vaporizer.)  The study called for regulation, noting that “there is no better way to avoid pesticide and other chemical residue than to assure that it is not present on the product in the first place.”

Here is a study from Cannabinoids, 2006, by Arno Hazekamp of Leiden University, the Netherlands.  The study compared samples from the unregulated coffee-house trade with official Dutch medical marijuana.  The coffeshop marijuana had most of the market because it was cheaper, and some users liked it better. But it was also contaminated with bacteria and mold, so that the regulated cannabis was  “a significantly safer product.”

Here is “Health Effects Associated with Indoor Marijuana Grow Operations,” by John Martyny, et al, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Health hospital, Denver.  He reports that indoor grow operations (which is how the Washington State Liquor Control Board expects marijuana to be grown for the Initiative 502 stores) are normally kept warm (21-32 degrees C) humid (50-70 percent) with high CO2 levels (700-1,500 ppm), which “enables fungal growth” and “elevated mold exposures.” This is a particular risk to people, particularly the children, living in the building with the indoor plants.

“Emergency personnel and law enforcement officers entering these facilities on a regular basis have reported upper respiratory infection, skin rashes, and other symptoms associated with these exposures,” the report says.

The bottom line, says Kyashna-Tocha: “It’s time to regulate it all.”

Indeed, the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s proposed rules include mandatory record keeping of “each daily application of fertlizers, pesticides or herbicides” applied to the plants and  mandatory testing of samples by an accredited testing lab.

0 Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►