Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: February 14th, 2013
Say the day comes when you can legally smoke weed. The question will then be: how safe is it?

And I mean safe in terms of sanitary, free from harmful pesticides and life-threatening bacterium such as e-coli, and, in the case of producing concentrated doses of the drug, deadly toxins from the production process.

According to a recent article by the Associated Press, Colorado is the current test case.

With less than a year to go before pot sales become legal in that state and with no backup provided by the federal government, the safety and efficacy of the product is up to state regulators. This would include making sure that no banned pesticides used are used to keep the plants pest-free, that there are no sanitation concerns surrounding how it’s grown, and that agricultural problems like molds and mildew don’t create contamination concerns.

One of the problems states that opt to legalize weed will have to face is how to categorize marijuana in order to decide what governing body regulates it, since it can be both smoked, like tobacco, and eaten, like an herb. According to the article, “Colorado currently copies tobacco pesticide regulations to apply to medical marijuana. But regulators rejected a proposal to certify “organic” pot grown without any pesticides, leaving consumers with no way to verify organic processing claims.”

Unless the federal government legalizes marijuana, it will continue to be up to states to determine how to go forward to ensure that the product that eventually reaches consumers is safe.



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