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How Much Cannabis Do Californians Use? Researchers Want To Ask In Order To Set Safe Pesticide Limits

Nina A.J., Creative Commons
file photo

California scientists want to know how much cannabis people are consuming on a daily basis. The information could help them set safer standards for the amount pesticide pot farmers should be using on crops.

Capital Public Radio’s Sammy Caiola got a sneak-peak at the research.

Outside Perfect Union dispensary in Sacramento, interviewers sat at a folding table and asked customers to talk about their weed habits.

“Did you smoke out of a joint, blunt, bowl? … It’s a Sunday? A bowl.”

Holly Matzke was eager to volunteer. She says she’s allergic to certain pesticides used in food, so she tries to be careful about what’s in her weed.

"They wanna learn what’s going into our plants … that’s awesome. Hopefully they’ll put some regulations on it so that we can’t use those harmful pesticides, because they’re just hurting people," says Matzke.

Regulations for how much pesticide goes on fruits and veggies is based on the amount of produce Americans consume. But California doesn’t have those numbers for cannabis.

Matzke was part of a pilot for a bigger statewide survey that starts in January. Any cannabis user who answers the questions at their local dispensary gets a $20 Amazon gift card.

Caleb Alvarez is one of the Sacramento State researchers doing the interviews. 

“Best place to get cannabis users is where you get cannabis ... We need people who are actually using the products that are being regulated," says Alvarez.

Researchers have only been able to study recreational marijuana consumption since California legalized the drug in 2016.