Burners beware: California pot sold Jan. 1 could be tainted

Workers harvest marijuana plants on grower Laura Costa’s farm near Garberville, Calif.

PHOENIX — Arizona’s more than 162,000 medical marijuana users are not going to get state protection from being sold drugs that are tainted with pesticides or mold, at least not for the time being.

Senate Bill 1420, which would have required the Agriculture Department to set up a testing process, fell short of votes for approval before state lawmakers adjourned for the session.

Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, called it disappointing that lawmakers didn’t deal with the matter. “I’m not a fan of medical marijuana,” he said.

“However, I am a fan of making sure if somebody’s going to buy a product that the product itself is safe to use, that it’s not going to harm their health.”

Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, said it remains legal for Arizona marijuana cultivators to use fungicides like Eagle 20 even though it is banned under federal law for use on tobacco.

“It is a severe carcinogen,” he said.

Rep. Randall Friese, D-Tucson, said he supports the need for testing. “The problem is that this bill doesn’t quite get it right.”

Friese said the bill didn’t adequately deal with such questions as how and where testing would be done and what chemicals it would be designed to find. He preferred reworking the bill to bring back next session.

Finchem disagreed, saying many of these details could have been worked out in rules the state health department could adopt later.