Pesticides Found in Cartridges at Unlicensed California Dispensaries

An independent analysis shows unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services in Los Angeles are selling cut cartridges.

Since recreational weed became legal in California, the state has made changes to its laws in an attempt to ensure that cannabis and cannabis products are safe. In particular, the state has tried to eliminate the use of harmful pesticides and other chemicals often used in the growing process.

But according to a new independent analysis, many of these same chemicals continue showing up throughout the Los Angeles market. Interestingly, the new analysis also found that the shops selling contaminated weed were operating without the necessary licenses.

New Analysis Finds Pesticides in L.A. Weed

Local news company NBC4 I-Team recently published some of the results of its new independent analysis of marijuana in L.A.

As explained by local sources, the investigation aimed at seeing whether or not cannabis purchased at dispensaries in the city contained pesticides and other chemicals. Specifically, investigators were looking for instances in which chemicals that are banned by California law were present.

To carry out their test, investigators purchased THC cartridges as well as buds from 24 different marijuana shops and delivery companies. All of the products were then sent to Brightside Scientific for thorough chemical analysis.

According to lab results, seven of the 24 products tested by the NBC4 I-Team were contaminated with illegal pesticides. That equates to roughly 30 percent of all the weed the investigators purchased.

The team also found that many cartridges had illegal pesticides. In particular, there were cartridges that tested positive for myclobutanil.

This chemical is often used as a fungicide. Typically, it’s used to grow fruits and vegetables. And it’s generally considered safe for human consumption.

But that’s only in the context of growing produce. When it comes to weed it’s very different. That’s because myclobutanil turns into the dangerous compound hydrogen cyanide when it’s heated up.

Banned Chemicals Showed Up in Unlicensed Shops

The investigation wasn’t only checking for the presence of pesticides. It was also trying to determine if there were any trends in the retail locations selling a contaminated product. And it turns out there were some very clear trends.

According to the report, “all contaminated pot samples . . . came from stores and delivery serves that turned out to be operating illegally at the time of sale.”

Basically, the shops selling the contaminated weed did not have all the necessary licenses and approvals to be in operation. In some cases, shops might have been missing a state license. And in others, they might not have had the necessary city licenses.

But one way or another, the shops selling the tainted weed were not fully licensed for operation. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, there are somewhere around 175 fully licensed marijuana shops in L.A. Additionally, cops estimate another 350 or so that are unlicensed.

Since recreational retail began at the beginning of 2018, law enforcement in L.A. and other parts of California have tried cracking down on unlicensed weed shops. But many continue to operate today.

Showing Improvements

Although this most recent analysis turned up a significant percentage of contaminated weed, it appears that California is seeing some distinct improvement.

The NBC4 I-Team conducted a similar test back in 2017. At that time, lab results showed that 93 percent of all samples had pesticides.

Since then, California has instituted much stricter laws about which chemicals cannot be used during the growing process. And this year’s NBC4 I-Team investigation showed that the frequency of contaminated weed has dropped down to around the 30 percent mark.

Drury, ByAdam. “This Lab Testing Facility Admitted to Faking Pesticide Results.” Green Rush Daily, 5 Dec. 2018, greenrushdaily.com/news/california-lab-testing-facility-admits-to-faking-pesticide-results/.

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