New lab in Yakima tests pesticides on marijuana - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New lab in Yakima tests pesticides on marijuana

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YAKIMA, WA - The Department of Agriculture in Yakima recently allowed cameras into its new state-of-the-art lab that tests pesticides on marijuana. Reporter Gilbert Magallon got a tour of the facility and learned why this kind of testing is important for customers.

The facility partners up the Liquor and Cannabis Board with the Department of Agriculture to make sure that pot sold in Yakima County is safe.

Mike Firmen is a chemist for the Department of Agriculture. His expertise? Testing pesticides used on marijuana. Firmen is one of few who work in the only facility in our entire country that does this kind of testing.

"The issue here is that we want to put the industry on notice, we want to be mindful of how they grow the marijuana," said Peter Antolin, Deputy Director with the Liquor and Cannabis Board. "Because we are concerned about the health of the product when it reaches the consumer."

The $1.15 million lab with state-of-the-art equipment was funded by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. 

"We felt that there was a need, and so we reached out to the Department of Agriculture," Antolin said. "It is about proper roles and responsibilities. We are not scientists at our agency, so we reached out to Agriculture because this is something that they do on a regular basis."

The goal is to test 75 samples per month. In Yakima, there are more than 70 producers in the county and 4 retailers within city limits, making this new testing facility important.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board says that since July of last year, the state of Washington has made more than $2 billion in revenue off marijuana sales, and this new facility will help bring in more revenue through a contaminant-free product.