The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has announced the resumption of heavy metal testing under the Department of Health (DOH) cannabis resume. The announcement comes nearly three months after the LCB passed an emergency rule suspending the heavy metal testing requirement due to a lack of state certified heavy metal testing labs.
During those three months, producers committed to producing DOH-compliant products — which must be tested for heavy metals and banned pesticides and serve as the state’s “medical cannabis” supply — could still use the DOH compliant logo. Until recently, however, producers had to include the message “Not Tested for Heavy Metals.”
Starting April 18, Medicine Creek Analytics, a Puyallup Tribe cannabis business, became the sole cannabis testing lab in the state for heavy metals.
Medical cannabis patients are especially susceptible to elevated heavy metal concentrations because of their already compromised health. The primary heavy metals tested for in the cannabis industry are lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury. These may accumulate through grow mediums, fertilizers, pesticides, packaging materials, and may even be transferred by some cannabis clones, according to the Cannabis Industry Journal. The Journal recommends testing everything cannabis comes in contact with, citing a recent case of lead leaching from plastic vape cartridges into otherwise clean concentrates.
Washington is in the midst of updating their testing protocols, passing a bill requiring pesticide tests for all cannabis sold in the state in the 2019 session. Unlike other states like California, who require heavy metal testing for all cannabis, Washington only requires heavy metal testing for Department of Health-approved products.
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