Marijuana plants fill a Denver warehouse. (John Leyba, Denver Post file)

Editorial: Big holes in Colorado pot oversight with pesticides, MMJ

For all the work Colorado has done in creating the world’s first regulatory structure for legal marijuana sales, the effort is not finished. Gaping holes remain, such as regulating pesticide use and providing guidance to doctors who recommend medical marijuana for patients.

The state is late to the game on both counts.

A report by The Denver Post’s David Migoya and Ricardo Baca shows state regulators bowed to pressure from the marijuana industry last year and allowed potentially dangerous pesticides to be used on the crops.

Thankfully, in the wake of publicity, Colorado has proposed new rules to reduce the number of pesticides to 75 from the current list of more than 200. The proposal also limits pesticides to those so nontoxic that they don’t need to be federally registered or those with levels so safe that no residue needs to be determined.

On another front, the Colorado Medical Board finally has proposed guidelines for doctors recommending medical marijuana.

It is astounding these guidelines are coming 15 years after voters approved Amendment 20 and six after medical marijuana dispensaries began growing like dandelions.

The system has been flawed and riddled with abuse. The medical board should be providing guidance to doctors on best practices when recommending marijuana for therapeutic use.

The proposals the board will consider would ask (but not require) doctors to do a risk assessment of the patient, look at drug-use history, conduct a pain assessment and educate patients about pot use — all of which is sensible.

However, some suggestions go a bit far. Women in child-bearing years shouldn’t have to get a pregnancy test and doctors shouldn’t have to warn patients about the possibility of death from pot use, which is highly remote.

Nevertheless, a community standard on recommending medical pot use should be established and this is a good start — finally.

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