It has been almost two years since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. Since that time, the booming marijuana industry has had its share of difficulties dealing with potential danger to customers. There have been many illicit pesticides found in both recreational and medical marijuana products sold to the public. As a result, there have been recalls, quarantines and even a lawsuit involving people who claim that they would not have smoked the marijuana if they knew the pesticides that were used on it.

Pesticide testing is neither necessary for marijuana businesses in Colorado nor subject to random pesticide testing. Other crops are, though, according to Mitch Yergert from the state’s agriculture department. Cannabis businesses are typically given the freedom to self-regulate pesticides, but officials claim that they are working on a different plan for the future. CNN decided that they were going to perform their tests on marijuana sold at dispensaries in Denver.

Due to state laws, customers are not allowed to test their cannabis products for pesticides at licensed labs. Rather, labs are only allowed to inspect cannabis given to them by marijuana businesses. Therefore, CNN collaborated with two Denver dispensaries to each submit three samples for pesticides testing to Gobi Analytical, a lab run by Peter Perrone. Perrone has analyzed thousands of marijuana products for pesticides and his lab is the “go-to lab for the city of Denver’s investigations.”

Together, the dispensaries submitted six samples (flowers, edibles, concentrates, etc.). Five of the six were clean for pesticides. However, one tested positive for a neurotoxin by the name of imidacloprid. The Colorado Department of Agriculture declared that the chemical is not allowed to be used on pot products. The United States’s Environmental Protection Agency does allow it to be used on certain crops, but only at very low levels; for instance, 1 part per million on avocados and half a part per million on apples.


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