Hipster Demand For ‘Organic Marijuana’ Pushes Governor To Sign New Law

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A call from residents for marijuana grown free of contaminants like pesticides and fungicides sparked the creation of the nation’s first organic pot market Tuesday.

Jay Inslee, the Democratic governor of Washington, signed a bill that will allow marijuana growers to get their product certified by the state as organic. The program, proposed by Republican state Sen. Ann Rivers, makes the organic certification completely voluntary and leaves it to the state Department of Agriculture to administer and regulate, reports Reuters.

Washington is one of eight states where recreational marijuana is legal, allowing anyone over the age of 21 to indulge in smoking. Smokers in the state are increasingly demanding a product that is free of contaminants.

“This is consumer-driven,” Rivers told Reuters Tuesday. “As we have moved forward in the legal marijuana market, we’re hearing people say, ‘We don’t want any pesticides, fungicides, none of that stuff in our weed.'”

Rivers calls marijuana “the gift that keeps on giving” in Washington state, which is expected to collect roughly $768 million in revenue from legal weed sales in 2016. She argues that if a variety of food products can go through a process to be certified organically, it should be relatively easy to do the same with marijuana.

Dispensaries in states with legal marijuana may advertise their products as “pesticide free,” but these statements can be misleading in the absence of strict state oversight. Marijuana vendors in California recently had to pull products from their shelves after an investigation found a majority of the medical products tested from stores contained dangerous contaminants.

Investigators with the NBC4 I-Team in Los Angeles bought 44 different marijuana products from various dispensaries in Southern California, specifically asking if they were free of contaminants. Then they sent the marijuana to Steep Hill Laboratories in Berkeley for testing, and found roughly 93 percent of the products contained high levels of pesticides exceeding many safety limits in other states with legal marijuana.

Officials from California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation promised March 30 to revamp safety regulations governing medical marijuana testing to address the issues.

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