Cannabis cultivation can be a tricky subject. There are many of us who wish that growers would keep chemical pesticides off of our marijuana – or at least use a safer, more natural alternative. After all, there are a large number of people who use cannabis as a safer alternative to medicines that are known to have harmful side effects – so treating the cannabis with a potentially harmful chemical would defeat that purpose.

We ingest cannabis in many different ways – smoking, vaporizing and of course, eating. Edibles are one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, even if it’s not always the most practical for efficient medicating. However, if we are introducing the natural chemicals of THC and CBD into our systems, we don’t want them to be accompanied by unknown chemical pesticides.

A logical way to combat this would be to treat cannabis in the same way that we treat the produce we eat. Think about it for a moment – it makes sense. State governments and the federal government oversee the food we eat to ensure that it is safe for human consumption; they even test alcohol in a similar manner, it only makes sense this same standard for safety should apply to cannabis.

“If the people of California decide to pass the ballot initiative in California in November, a lot is going to change for cultivators. With the introduction of mandatory testing on all products, we see them cracking down hard. This is about public safety and it’s the state and federal governments’ job to make sure the people are safe.” Matthew Mills, a licensed applicator and founder of  Nature-Cide insecticides explained.

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“Farmers in the Cannabis industry are going to have to grow and follow the regulations just like any other agriculture producer. You have to do things by the books and there are no exceptions,” says Mills.

With cannabis legalization coming closer by the day in California (or so it seems, at the moment), let’s take a look at what sort of guidelines would potentially surround cannabis production if the California Department of Food and Agriculture used a similar regulation standard.

There would be standards for quality

Standardization is a big deal for the California Department of Food and Agriculture when it comes to produce. Over  30 different foods must meet certain standards – which can be a bit strict – otherwise, they are not fit for sale. Other foods, while they are not quite so stringently regulated, must still meet at least a minimum standard. Standards include things such as quality, size, maturity, as well as packaging and container markings that must be met.

Everything would be inspected

When it comes to produce, the  CDFA has a few different forms of inspection that the food must  pass, including inspecting produce for the standards mentioned above, conducting a chemical analysis to ensure environmental safety and, in the case of fertilizer and livestock, things are checked for compliance with quality and quantity guaranteed by the manufacturer.

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Pesticides would be strictly regulated

Considering the fact that pesticides are the biggest issue surrounding the food we eat, California does their best when it comes to restricting the use of pesticides on produce. Not only are there a number of regulations surrounding the use of pesticides, but there are also  several types of licenses that businesses need to obtain if they plan to use them. For example, one is a Qualified Application Certificate and/or license, which you must take a test to pass. This ensures that pesticides are always used properly, by people who are trained to use them.

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They also have state  standards on what is considered to be organic – which is something they will likely want to adopt for cannabis as well, in order to avoid problems like Colorado saw early on. Until we know more about how chemical pesticides effect people when consumed through marijuana there is no way to say that it is “safe”, but there are at least ways to ensure that those chemicals are used in the most responsible way possible.

If the California Department of Food and Agriculture takes an approach to legal marijuana that looks anything like how they presently treat their produce, they are well on their way to having some of the best cannabis in the United States for both medicinal and recreational users.