The marijuana industry has reacted to the city of Denver’s recent expansion of its pesticide inspections protocol by double-checking its labels and, in one case, destroying more than $8,000 worth of infused edibles and oils.
The city said last week its inspectors were starting to check in-store labels on marijuana and cannabis products for pesticides not allowed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
When Denver Relief co-owner Ean Seeb on Aug. 31 saw the city’s memo, he instructed his staff to examine the labels on the edibles carried in the shop. Seeb wanted to ensure “that only the approved pesticides were on any of our labels,” he said.
The state’s largest dispensary group, Native Roots, was expecting the bulletin after being informed by inspectors with the Denver Fire Department, founding partner Rhett Jordan said.
“We took action to remove products with any of the listed, nonusable pesticides about four months ago after Denver did its first round of pesticide screenings (in cultivations),” said Jordan, who operates three of his 12 Colorado shops in the city and county of Denver. “So nothing in our stores would be on our shelves if they weren’t compliant to (Denver’s) standards.”
It was also business as normal at another large pot shop chain, The Clinic, which several months ago executed “an anti-pesticide agreement” with all of its vendors, a representative said.
But it was a different scene at edibles company Flo last week, where owner Paul Rossi learned that one of his wholesale sources for marijuana trim had used a once-allowed, now-barred pesticide on the cannabis he had used to infuse some of Flo’s products.
“We had a meeting internally with our staff on Monday night after getting the bulletin,” said Rossi, who sells infused products medically in Colorado. “We decided that night to pull the product that was affected.”
Flo’s self-imposed quarantine involved the destruction of 275 units retrieved from eight area pot shops, costing the five-month-old company $8,310.
“It was a small quantity, so the issue for us is the time that it’s going to take to remake and restock the product,” said Rossi. “It hurt us.”
Edibles company Mountain High Suckers was one of two companies that had products placed on hold by the city Sept. 1 — and Denver Relief pulled its stock of Mountain High edibles until the city released them one day later after tests showed no banned pesticides present, when Seeb said the store “put them back on the shelves.”
Friday, Denver released another bulletin clarifying its Monday action saying that companies with once-held product, such as Mountain High Suckers, can affix another label to their city-cleared items that reads, “The seller certifies that this product derives from plant material that was approved for release by Denver Environmental Health.” The city also said that outdated labels declaring pesticides no longer used cannot be altered.
“We went through this at the grow level several months ago, and now we’re cleaning up some issues at the retail level,” said Dan Rowland, spokesman for the city’s office of cannabis policy. “It’s nice to see the process working. At the end of the day, the city and industry are interested in the consumer protection piece.”
Ricardo Baca: 303-954-1394, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/bruvs