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Lack of Safety Rules for Marijuana Cultivation Are Endangering Alaskans

State Marijuana Law Cultivation

Alaska has not adopted a pesticide policy when it comes to marijuana. No rules are in place assisting cultivators with how to use them safely, or even which are safe to use. Alaska only tests for potency and microbials such as fungus and mold.

Concentrates are tested for residual solvents, ADN.com reports. Regulators in Alaska chose not to adopt rules for pesticides due to the potential cost for industry businesses. Some say this is a gap in consumer protection.

One business owner, Evan Neal of Cannabaska, says he’s seen how the use of unapproved pesticides can affect consumers.
Neal said, “Here in Alaska, we need some help.”

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is in charge of overseeing which pesticides are okay to use. It’s charged with advising growers on which pesticides the state sees as legal for use. But, the advice isn’t concrete.

Karin Hendrickson of the DEC said, “We can’t say, ‘This is safe to use and this product isn’t.’”

The lack of research regarding pesticides when smoked is part of the reason there are no concrete rules in Alaska. The effects of pesticides aren’t researched in tobacco, so there isn’t information available regarding marijuana.

Some concentrates can have higher amounts of pesticides than dry flower. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that use of pesticides on marijuana isn’t legal.

Some states, like Colorado, Oregon and Washington have adopted their own approved pesticides lists. Alaska has only a partial list and doesn’t plan on updating the list.

Director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, Erika McConnell, says it’s an enormous amount of work, so that is why the state isn’t likely to update its approved pesticides list.

McConnell said, “We’re just not there yet.”

Mark Malagodi of CannTest said, “I really don’t think there’s a big problem with pesticide use for the people who are growing right now.”

Some growers admit to using pesticides while others say they do not.

Alaska does require growers to disclose the types of pesticides they use to the retailers purchasing from them. The pesticides disclosed aren’t listed on product packaging.

Business owners like Neal want regulations in place and won’t mind paying for the extra testing. CannTest did say, however, that it doesn’t plan to purchase pesticide testing equipment anytime soon.