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New 2016 Pesticide Regulations Could Drastically Increase Oregon Pot Prices

Mark Miller

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Cannabis testing lab professionals, as well as pot shop owners, in Oregon are predicting a likely spike in medical and retail marijuana prices next year, attributed to pesticide-related regulations which will be implemented in June 2016.

As reported by KTVZ NewsChannel 21, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released a list of 59 pesticides mandated to be tested for in legal weed in the Beaver State. According to staff at pot-testing facility CannAlytics in Bend, Oregon, the investment that labs have to make in new equipment to test for the additional pesticides—as well as the intensive labor hours required for testing—will drive up prices for the cannabis consumer.

CannAlytics lab director Ellen Parkin applauded the increase in pesticides to be tested for, but she also acknowledged the cost of such analyzing.

"Half-a-million dollars worth of (additional) equipment," she explained, "that's a lot of money."

Carlos Cummings, vice-president at CannAlytics, noted that current compliance package testing in Oregon ranges from $100 to $175 per testing sample.  

"My guesstimate would probably be close to a 50 to 100 percent markup (of such testing) across the state," he said on the new testing measures.  

Oregon pot shop proprietors agreed that the new pesticide program will affect costs. 

"Yes, of course," Margo Lucas of the West Salem Dispensary said. "We'll have to pass that price on. It's something that will have to get paid for—one way or another. Growers, dispensary owners, patients, we're all going to have to cover the cost, I guess."

Justin Cory of The Green Remedy in Portland believes that any price escalation from increased testing won't alter usage but will impact his company's sales "as far as us buying it, because it'll increase the price from the grower"—meaning, less product will be available for the customer. 

Fred Gunnerson of High Winds NV in Hood River confirmed that the pesticide regulations will increase pot prices that will inevitably be passed on to the consumer, but that such cost inflation will have no bearing on usage or sales. 

"Testing will be a normal part of the business, just like it is with food products," he elaborated. "Regulations will get stiffer as more corporations become involved, and they try to shut out the little guys. Big companies can afford the tests and already make more profit than the small grower."  

But this change is for the better, said OHA toxicologist David Farrer, who noted that previously, laboratories could merely choose pesticides not widely used and market themselves to growers as "an easy-pass laboratory." 

As reported by Cannalawblog.com, under the new testing regulations, Oregon legal weed is expected to undergo more rigorous quality control testing than any other agricultural product in the state.  

This is critical in the wake of a penetrating investigation by The Oregonian/Oregon Live last June, revealing that out of 14 pesticides discovered in a set of randomly tested legal strains, six of those had probable links to cancer. 

As of June 1, 2016, only laboratory personnel will be permitted to sample, test and then track samples of dried cannabis and cannabinoid extracts before being available for commercial purchase. All products that test above regulatory limits for pesticides, solvents, microbiological contaminants or water concentration must be eradicated. No more "easy pass" for any Oregon legal weed, and that's ultimately beneficial for all involved.

(Photo Courtesy of Cannafundr

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