Oregon Pauses Pathogenic Mold Testing Requirement

Cannabis businesses argued that the requirement is onerous, expensive, and unnecessary.

Oregon cannabis authorities changed course on a mold testing requirement for commercial marijuana after a court last month put a 180-day pause on rules established by regulators earlier this year that led to several cannabis product recalls due to testing failures.

The Oregon Health Authority as of Sept. 8 had suspended its requirement that all cannabis sold to consumers be tested for aspergillus, after the Oregon Court of Appeals sided with marijuana industry interests who sued the state over the rule, Jefferson Public Radio reported.

Cannabis businesses claimed in their lawsuit that the testing requirement went too far and that aspergillus isn’t necessarily harmful to humans.

There are not yet any documented cases of aspergillus connected to cannabis use, Jefferson Public Radio reported, and the Centers for Disease Control has found that many people breathe in aspergillus spores every day.

Those with weakened immune systems may develop fungal infections from exposure to aspergillus spores, and a 2016 CDC study found that fungal infections are more common among marijuana users – but that wasn’t sufficient cause for the Court of Appeals to side with regulators.

The requirement, businesses argued, is onerous, expensive, and unnecessary.

The OHA, however, argued that 16 other states have similar testing policies in place, with an arguably minimal impact to businesses.

“While some producers will be required to change their methods to avoid mold contamination of their product and may, in the short term, be required to sell their harvest for less lucrative uses, the impact on the industry as a whole is highly exaggerated,” stated a court filing on behalf of the OHA.

The question is still not fully settled, but until it is, recalled cannabis products are not yet allowed to be sold commercially. The OHA is currently working on temporary marijuana industry rules as a stopgap, Jefferson Public Radio reported.

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