The laid-back days when marijuana growers could spray crops with chemicals without fear of consequences are just about over as California prepares to deploy a strict new testing regimen, but the proposed regulations have sparked debate over claims they’ll force many pot merchants out of business.
The California Bureau of Marijuana Control issued a draft plan this spring that set some of the stiffest limits in the country for solvents, pesticides and microbial contaminants such as fungus and bacteria in the sticky bud, pills and edibles sold at medical cannabis dispensaries.
The rules are certain to apply to newly legalized recreational pot as well when California regulators consolidate the systems in the coming months, paving the way for the opening of retail shops as soon as January.
California’s proposed regulations are highly technical and subject to change, but many in the business agree they are tantamount to a ban on pesticides.
“It’s a very high bar and it’s going to send ripples through the industry, and I think that’s a good thing,” said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, which advocates for more than 600 marijuana farmers and business owners.