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A guidebook on marijuana quality control nearing completion

Austin Jenkins

Entrepreneurs who hope to cash in on legal marijuana will have some heavy reading to do Thursday. That’s when Washington’s Liquor Control Board is expected to release nearly 50 pages of proposed rules for growers, processors and retailers. But there is another pot rulebook that’s also in development.

It’s called the Cannabis Monograph. Think of it as an illustrated bible for pot quality control. It’s a technical but colorful handbook for testing labs to ensure the identity, purity, and quality of legal pot.

Roy Upton with the California nonprofit group American Herbal Pharmacopoeia is heading up the effort to produce this document, which he calls a first of its kind.

“So the monograph establishes what tests people should follow to ensure that they have the right stuff, that it’s not contaminated it, that it meets very specific limits for microbial presence,” Upton said.

Upton says pot gets contaminated with all sorts of bacteria, and is sometimes spiked with everything from tobacco to Viagra. The full guidebook will sell for $40, and Upton hopes it sets the standard for a safe recreational pot supply in Washington. 

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.