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Washington: Marijuana Worker Protection Standards Released by Agriculture Department

As legal cannabis business grows larger, states are realizing standards need to be set.

In the latest step toward standardizing cannabis cultivation, the Washington State Department of Agriculture released formal recommendations called the “Worker Protection Standards (WPS): Requirements for Marijuana Growers.”

Standards in the regular world of agriculture are created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, USDA inspection or certification of cannabis is prohibited because USDA employees must abide by federal laws. Over half of U.S. states have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana use, but since the USDA cannot get involved, there are no set standards for cannabis cultivation.

In a bold yet inspiring move, Washington has decided to go rogue and develop their own guidelines to ensure worker safety and quality control.

The WSP: Requirements for Marijuana Growers that the Department of Ag generated is mostly focused on pesticide protection. It requires pesticide safety training before beginning employment that must be provided by a qualified WPS trainer. These regulations also require personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn to protect individuals from contact with pesticides. Standard PPE includes a respirator, chemical resistant gloves and protective eyewear.

These new regulations also set pesticide re-entry restrictions, ensuring no employees are put at risk of contamination. After an area has been treated with pesticides, it cannot be entered again for at least four hours. Proper warning signs must be visible from all points of access into the garden for three days after treatment.

These rules officially take effect in January of 2017.

See the WSP: Requirements for Marijuana Growers in detail.


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