In the Cannabis Patch, a Patchwork of Safety Standards–and in Some Cases None At All

Here's the first graf of my latest (fourth?) story for the nonprofit investigative news outlet Fair Warning, which publishes articles on its website and in partner papers nationwide.

"Although 35 states, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational or medical use, there still are no uniform standards for regulating potentially harmful contaminants in cannabis products. And with five more states voting this November on whether to allow cannabis for the first time, the problem will only grow."

This was a challenging and interesting story to report, since I was able to dig rather deep into the subject after covering it three times before. First, in April 2019 I wrote a feature for Environmental Health Perspectives on regulating pesticides on cannabis. That was followed by a second feature in EHP that August that covered the regulation of other common cannabis contaminants: metals, microbes, and solvents. 

In between those two I connected with Fair Warning and wrote a story on organic and regenerative cannabis cultivation practices. And now, another year and a quarter later (almost) I have a sort of follow-up on the two EHP stories that focuses on policy. 

I believe this is an under-appreciated and under-covered issue and intend to follow it for years to come.