Press "Enter" to skip to content

The dirty secret of California’s legal weed

By Paige St. John, Alex Halperin


Aging yuppies in neon beachwear stand before a green wall with the catchphrase, “You have changed … so has cannabis.”

The social media post is part of “Real CA Cannabis,” a $5-million taxpayer-funded campaign to promote California cannabis as safe, tested and “regulated by the state to protect consumers.”

In reality, that safety is far from certain.

An investigation by The Times, in conjunction with cannabis industry newsletter WeedWeek, found alarming levels of pesticides in cannabis products available on dispensary shelves across the state, including some of the most popular brands of vapes and pre-rolled weed.

Twenty-five of 42 legal cannabis products that The Times and WeedWeek purchased from retail stores and had tested at private labs showed concentrations of pesticides either above levels the state allows or at levels that exceed federal standards for tobacco. The contaminants include chemicals tied to cancer, liver failure, thyroid disease and genetic and neurologic harm to users and unborn children.

Most of the pesticides found were in low concentrations that risk long-term harm by repeated use, though the extent of the health threat may not be known for years.

Click here to watch video.

Vapes tested from five well-known brands had pesticide loads that exceeded federal Environmental Protection Agency risk thresholds for harm from a single exposure, The Times and WeedWeek found. Users might experience irritation to the lungs, eyes and throat as well as rash, headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Some individual products contained as many as two dozen pesticides.

The findings dovetail with scores of complaints that two private cannabis testing labs have filed over the last eight months, reporting pesticides in products certified by other labs as safe. The results, the labs said, suggest some level of contamination in more than 250,000 vapes and pre-rolled joints on store shelves, about the number sold legally in California in a two-day period.

There are strong profit incentives driving contamination. Expanding legal markets encourage intensive growing practices to increase yield, inviting the use of pesticides to protect those high-value crops from insect infestations common in greenhouse environments…


Live Stream + Chat (


Home | Caravan to Midnight (

We Need Your Help To Keep Caravan To Midnight Going,

Please Consider Donating To Help Keep Independent Media Independent

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Breaking News: