The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) requires a lot of marijuana pesticide testing. The MED requires multiple testing on all marijuana flower and trim (but not concentrates). This results in redundancy and higher costs.

New marijuana pesticide testing in Colorado officially began Aug. 1. But cultivators have been busy contending with product gluts and falling wholesale prices. Colorado’s testing is not necessarily unique though. States, such as California and Oregon require similar pesticide testing. Oregon’s testing runs around $300 per test. Products that must be tested include extract, all usable marijuana, and concentrates. California tests it all. Their regulations can be found here.

A Cost Hard to Absorb

But the need for marijuana pesticide testing isn’t actually the big debate. What is of concern, is the immense cost to test marijuana samples. Many argue for mandatory testing only at the final stage – before consumer purchase.

Multiple tests mean costs add up. The tests in Colorado average $100-$120 per strain. Considering the number of strains the average cultivator might grow, testing costs can easily run into the thousands if a company desires to stay in compliance. And merely tacking on a few bucks here and there to each product isn’t a solution either.

For example, a cultivator might grow 50 strains at two sites. Testing each strain each week ($100 per strain) adds up to $5,000 per week just in testing. Then multiply this by six – for the required number of months of testing – and this business has hit the $30,000 mark in testing expenses.

Not Everyone is Complaining

Of course, there are some who don’t mind the marijuana pesticide testing and who don’t mind the fees: the testing labs themselves. And even some of them think more testing should be done, to further protect consumers and to further keep companies in compliance. The 13 pesticides Colorado tests medical and recreational marijuana for:

  • Abamectin (Avermectin B1 &B2)
  • Azoxystrobin
  • Bifenazate
  • Etoxazole
  • Imazalil
  • Imidacloprid
  • Mlathion
  • Myclobutanil
  • Permethrin
  • Spinosad A&D
  • Spiromesifen
  • Spirotetramat
  • Tebuconazole

Colorado’s Marijuana Pesticide Testing Labs

Colorado currently has five state-licensed testing labs. With the increase in testing, these companies have seen an increase in business. And high costs are not just on the cultivator side. It is equally costly to perform the actual pesticide testing.

Weeding Out the Competition

Of course, in business, only the strongest make it. So, this means that increased marijuana pesticide testing costs will indeed force some individuals out of the industry while strengthening others. This may not be fair, but such is the way of business. Because ensuring consumer safety and confidence is critical to the industry.

Time is Also a Factor

Money expenditure isn’t the only factor in Colorado’s required pesticide testing. CO law requires a validation process where cultivators submit samples six weeks in a row. And if and only if the samples pass this stage, can a cultivator move forward with their product. And then every 30 days after that, the state requires additional batch testing.

Cultivators aren’t against testing. Most of the product recently tested in Colorado has discovered relatively small amounts of pesticides anyway – meaning generally most growers stay away from the prohibited ones. But testing expenses in cannabusiness operate differently than in the regular business sector. With the federal tax system, businesses can deduct a myriad of expenses. But cannabis companies are unable to do the same, meaning the money goes out without any chance of softening the expense.

Pesticide-Free Please

Cost, time, and an extensive list of prohibited pesticides already ruffle the feathers of those in the industry. But now, some actually want more to be done. But the #Whatsinmyweed campaign wants more pesticides added to the banned list. Furthermonre, they are working to get more specific chemical testing to ensure only the safest products make their way to consumers.

Colorado’s marijuana pesticide testing requirements are an expensive aspect of the cultivation side of cannabis. To offset costs, some business owners might reduce the number of strains they grow. It is no-win situation right now. Pesticide testing is critical. But should the testing be at the expense (both in cost and in operational fluidity) of those who provide all the product?

High Costs Require Smart Planning

At Pinnacle, our expert business sense is an advantage you need right now. Running a business is never the same every day. Expenses, staffing, compliance, regulations, and more, are only a few of the elements you encounter each week. We can help guide you through sudden financial expenditures that threaten your livelihood. We can get you back on track and make sure your revenue stream stays strong and your business stays in testing compliance. Schedule a sit-down today.