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Recreational and medical marijuana are both now legal in Nevada, but what does that really mean for the state? The KUNR news team explores the issue in our series Cannabis In Nevada: The Rollout. From legislation to economics to public health, we have the coverage to help you better understand this growing industry.By talking with lawmakers, law enforcement officers, home growers, and industry professionals, our reporters are bringing you the latest knowledge on the successes and challenges of mainstreaming cannabis in the Silver State. To cap off our cannabis coverage, the KUNR team hosted a cannabis forum. To view the forum from our Facebook Live stream, please click here.

What Toxicologists Are Looking For In Your Pot

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In Nevada, before the first medical marijuana dispensary opened its door in 2015, the testing industry emerged to help ensure product safety. 

Toxicologist Jason Strull is with 374 Labs.

“From the black market where it’s coming off the streets, it hasn’t been tested,” Strull says. “You don’t know what pesticides were applied. All of the commercial operations are following a strict list on what they can use for pesticides and they know that it’s going to be tested.”

Unlike pot sold on the streets, cannabis sold in dispensaries has undergone laboratory testing for toxicology and potency. Jeff Angermann is an expert on environmental toxicology and is with the University of Nevada, Reno. As Nevada regulators were setting up statewide testing standards, Angermann says officials with the Nevada Department of Public and Behavioral Health looked at the best practices in other states that had already legalized marijuana.

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374 Labs

“They chose by and large some of the most comprehensive and stringent standards,” Angermann explains, “in terms of the limits, the tolerances for pesticides and heavy metals, and other standards like for microbial contaminants.”

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To hear the full interview with Assistant Professor Jeff Angermann, please click here.

But despite those standards, Angermann says a lack of federally sponsored research on marijuana can make it challenging for researchers to know more about the impact of the contaminants on human health.   

Anh is a contributing editor for the KUNR news team and has been with the station since 2014. She is an alumna of the Boston University School of Public Health and Teachers College, Columbia University.