Denver businesses that manufacture and sell edible marijuana are subject to the same rules and regulations as full-service restaurants and all other food-related facilities.
A Denver Post review of Denver food-safety inspection records shows that there have been at least 237 critical violations (those related to foodborne illness) at 107 marijuana facilities in 2014. There have been at least 53 noncritical violations.
“It’s important to give a little bit of context for what those numbers mean because they can sound alarming,” said Danica Lee, manager of the Denver Department of Environmental Health’s food-safety section. “We’re seeing pretty consistent violations for what you’d expect from businesses that make similar products that don’t have marijuana in them.”
There are unique issues regarding food safety and the marijuana industry, Lee said. Hash oils, like all herb-infused oils, have the potential to grow botulism spores if not kept at a temperature of 41 degrees or cooler. Most marijuana products have been made for a long time before regulation, and there are traditional methods for making marijuana products. The methods – such as using washing machines for hash extraction – don’t always meet food-safety standards.
Many of the violations are related to a lack of training, and the industry continues to evolve as Colorado’s marijuana experiment goes forward, Lee said.
Note: Some businesses may have changed location or closed. The data contain information from inspection records up to July 31, 2014.
Rex Santus: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/rexsantus