“A group of legal medical cannabis growers in our state was very concerned about the lack of safety testing with our product,” says Muraco Kyashna-Tocha, President of the Evergreen State Cannabis Trade Alliance and Founder of the Green Buddha Patient Co-op.
About 25 people met monthly over the course of a year to come to a consensus on standards for testing plants for acceptable levels of mold, fungus, and pesticides. The marijuana trade group has now come up with a way to certify the safety and quality of the product.
Marijuana that is certified Patient Ready Cannabis is verified by the lab to be free of salt buildup, heavy metals, residual pesticides, residual fungicides, and herbicides. There are also maximum levels for environmental contaminants such as animal hair.
“In addition, our lab tests for cannabinoids, the active ingredient in cannabis,” Kyashna-Tocha says.
She says their real focus is user safety. Kyashna-Tocha cites a recent study done in Colorado that found 70 percent of marijuana grows had unacceptable levels of fungus. She notes that Washington tends to be much more humid than Colorado, so the problem is likely worse here.
The original standards system was designed for medical patients that may have compromised immune systems, but Kyashna-Tocha says it can easily be adopted by the state for broader use under recently passed I-502.
The Evergreen State Cannabis Trade Alliance currently has about 100 individual growers and co-operative grow operations signed on as members. They use a third party lab, Northwest Botanical Analysis, to conduct their testing on members’ marijuana.