Inside the Pesticide-Free Marijuana Certification Program

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A bill introduced to the state legislature in January would create a certification program for commercial marijuana growers to label their products "pesticide-free."

As the legal marijuana industry and the authorities that regulate it try to figure out the snowballing pesticide issue in Colorado's cannabis products, state representatives Jonathan Singer of Longmont and KC Becker of Boulder have proposed House Bill 16-1079 to create a certification process for medical and recreational marijuana products and industrial hemp that would tell consumers if the products potentially contained pesticide residue. The bill will be presented to the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, February 9.

"The Department of Agriculture will certify third parties who can certify whether the marijuana or hemp cultivated or processed at a particular cannabis facility is free of pesticides," the bill reads. Currently, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has a list of approved pesticides for commercial marijuana grows that was last updated in January.

Since March 2015, over 1 million retail marijuana plants or products have been quarantined or recalled by the Denver Department of Environmental Health for using banned or potentially harmful pesticides to treat pests and fungi. In November 2015, Governor John Hickenlooper declared marijuana treated with unapproved pesticides a threat to public safety.

"It doesn't require that all marijuana be pesticide-free, but for those who want to meet that market demand, they need a state certification program to do so," Becker said in a statement on Facebook.

Because of marijuana's federally illegal status, Colorado marijuana growers are barred from applying for organic certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but that doesn't stop many marijuana companies from using the term loosely: Some dispensaries and their products have the words "organic" and "all-natural" on them, whether they truly are or not. In September, the Denver Post reported Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman's office was looking into pot businesses using the word "organic" in advertising.

Continue reading for pot events in this week's Cannabis Calendar:

Think you can tell the difference between Durban Poison and Bubble Gum Kush? Put your nostrils to the test at the Trichome Institute's Interpening Cannabis Sommelier Course on Tuesday, February 9, at 6 p.m at Colorado Free University. Just like a wine-tasting course, this hands-on class will teach students how to smell the differences among cannabis strains and detect unacceptable qualities in flower. Cost is $299. Licensed industry employees and groups of five or more should inquire about discounts. 21+

On Wednesday, February 10, Green Labs will host Bend and Blaze – a free, 21+ vinyasa yoga class with optional cannabis consumption – from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Participants must register on the Bend and Blaze eventbrite page.

Christian/marijuana support group Stoners 4 Jesus — a church group whose members embrace the spiritual connection that cannabis brings them — holds weekly Bible-study meetings from 6 to 8 p.m. every Thursday at Quince Essential Coffee House.

Smoking pot while watching standup is disallowed in virtually every comedy club in Denver, but Green Labs and its new Laughs-n-Loud cannabis comedy shows are bucking the trend every Thursday night at 7 p.m. A seven-week series that features four new comedians every week and several pot companies on display, Laughs-n-Loud is for adults 21-and-older and allows cannabis consumption (bring your own). Tickets are $22.09.

Marijuana law firm Vicente-Sederberg (1244 Grant Street, Denver) is hosting a meet and greet with Project CBD — a nonprofit that provides educational news reporting on CBD, other components of the cannabis plant and herbal medicine synergies — at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 11. The informal networking session is open for patients, manufacturers, dispensary management, scientists, activists and health care professionals and anyone. An entry donation is suggested but not required to attend.

Veterans support group Grow for Vets is holding a cannabis giveaway for veterans on Friday, February 12, at 10:30 a.m. at the Clover Leaf University Campus. The giveaway is free to attend for Grow For Vets members, who typically receive a few grams of flower, edibles and smoking accessories. For Grow for Vets members who are agoraphobic (fear of places, crowds, situations) or who need other special considerations, please e-mail members@GrowForVets.org. Member enrollment at the event will be available.

Sensi and Green Labs are hosting Impact Network: Cannabis and Patients, a monthly discussion for the novice on medical cannabis, on Saturday, February 13, from noon to 5 p.m. Marijuana professionals and consultants will have a ten-minute Q&A session on medical marijuana's relationship with heart disease, diabetes, stroke, chronic pain, relationships and sex. The discussions are open to all ages and free to attend after registering on eventbrite.

Green Labs will host three of its famed Sushi and Joint-Rolling classes on Sunday, February 14 where you can learn how to roll up two different types of delectable fatties. The classes start at 6, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. and cost $59 to attend. 21+

Know of an event that should be in the Cannabis Calendar? Send it to marijuana@westword.com.

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