By Bart Schaneman
New mandatory marijuana pesticide testing in Colorado is putting a financial squeeze on local cultivators to the tune of thousands of dollars in increased costs.
The added expense is the latest financial blow to hit the state’s cultivators, which are already struggling with falling wholesale prices and a glut of product.
Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division is requiring pesticide testing for marijuana flower and trim, but not concentrates. The new rules took effect Aug. 1.
Other states with recreational marijuana programs such as Oregon and California also require cultivators to submit their cannabis for pesticide testing.
In Colorado, the added cost amounts to $100-$120 to test each strain.
Tim Cullen, CEO of Denver-based Colorado Harvest Company, which grows and retails medical and recreational marijuana, said the process is costing him about $2,500 a week per grow to comply.
“It’s not like you can charge any more for the same product,” said Cullen, who operates two grows. “You’re just paying more (to produce the product).”
However, the new rules have been a boon for cannabis testing labs in the state, which are being flooded with new business — although some company owners and industry groups say the tests don’t do enough to protect consumers from unwanted chemicals in their marijuana, and even more needs to be done.