Medical marijuana advocates in Oregon are pushing new regulations that would control the quality of medical pot in the state. Last month, we brought you the story of a Washington man who got ill after smoking moldy medical marijuana. The quality of his pot was not regulated by the state. A proposed law in Oregon, HB 3460, would require the testing of pot for mold, mildew and pesticides as part of a regulated dispensary system. As it currently stands, medical marijuana users are largely on their own. They either have to find growers they trust or rely on collectives that vouch for the quality of the pot.
But industry insiders say the guess and check system results in a wide range of uncertainty for users. For example, you may not know if a grower is improperly using harmful pesticides or that your medicine is mildew-free. We spoke with one grower who didn’t want his identity shown to protect his children. We asked him if all growers he sees take steps to keep their pot clean. “I think most of them are. It sort of depends on their motivation for getting in,” he said. “In every facet of life there seem to be people who jump on the bandwagon and look for a way to twist it and turn it and employ it to their advantage.”
Pat Marshall is in the business of eliminating ambiguity for medical marijuana users. He’s a chemist who tests marijuana for local collectives. He said patients have a lot of uncertainty about the product they’re buying. “They’re like, ‘I don’t want another one of those brownies because the last time I at one of those it put me on the couch for six hours,’” Marshall explained. Marshall said he’ll find pesticides in one of out every 20 samples he tests. That’s concerning when you consider the thousands of patients who smoke marijuana and inhale those chemicals into their lungs.
“It’s my impression that some of these people are growing where there’s a $10,000 a month income. If you want to save your income, $30 down at Home Depot is a lot cheaper than $10,000,” he said. HB 3460 would set up marijuana dispensaries across the state and require them to test the quality of their product. The Oregon House Committee on Health Care is schedule to hold a public hearing on the bill this coming Monday. The hearing is scheduled for hearing room E in the state capitol.
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