Updated Oct. 15, 2015 at 10:55 a.m.
Two Denver marijuana cultivation facilities voluntarily recalled a wide-ranging group of products Wednesday over concerns they contained residues of pesticides that have not been approved for use on marijuana.
The recall by TruCannabis and Colorado Care Facility, a subsidiary, was the third announced by the Denver Department of Environmental Health since it began cracking down on pesticides last spring, quarantining 100,000 plants.
Company officials said they were conducting tests at the city’s request related to an earlier recall of infused products produced by Mahatma when they found their own products had three disallowed pesticides.
All the products were produced from marijuana harvested before June 2. The scope of the recall was not provided but involves dozens of product names.
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“As soon as those results came in, we quarantined it all,” TruCannabis CEO Bruce Nassau said. “We’re not happy about this at all, and it’s an embarrassment, not at all indicative of our business practices.”
Noting there is a lack of testing to determine what pesticides are unsafe, Nassau said, “We opt with the city to say that if there’s any concern, the health of our patients, clients and employees is paramount to us.”
He said no problems were found with anything produced after June 2.
The recalled products include flower, trim and shake, as well as an assortment of concentrates such as wax, shatter, budder and hash oils, according to an announcement by the Department of Environmental Health. Many of the recalled products carry labels from different businesses that made marijuana-infused products from pot grown by TruCannabis.
Those businesses then sent the product back to be sold at one of TruCannabis’ five locations, four of them in Denver and one in Aurora.
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Recalled concentrate product labels will show a cultivation facility number of 403R-00053, 403R-00057 or 403-00612.
Recalled dried marijuana will show either of those three cultivation facility numbers or 403-00149.
A list of impacted products includes Venom, CCC, Lab 710, Mahatma, White Mousse, Top Shelf, Zuni Wellness (The Lab), The Growing Kitchen, THChocolate, Stay Con, TC Labs, The Lab, Better Concentrates, CWD and TR Scientific.
Consumers are urged to return recalled products to the place of purchase or destroy it.
The issue of pesticides on marijuana has been a problem since retail sales began in January 2014, mostly because there have been no regulations about which chemicals could or should not be used and no testing to determine what pesticides are safe for marijuana.
The state therefore has chosen to OK those chemicals it says have warning labels so broadly written that using the pesticide on marijuana would not violate those restrictions. The Colorado Department of Agriculture in April issued a list of pesticides it says are allowed for use on marijuana, although it had circulated drafts of the list a year earlier.
The department recently said it was creating a new rule governing pesticide use on marijuana, one more restrictive than the current list.
The rule, if approved, also would allow pesticide manufacturers to test their product on marijuana and apply for a special exemption if they can prove the product is safe for ingestion, by eating and smoking.
Marijuana growers have said they cannot battle the kinds of pests they encounter — from molds and fungi to insects — with the limited number of pesticides the state allows.
“Much of the problem, because marijuana is federally illegal, is there has been no testing on these (pesticides). And while they might be perfectly fine, we need to determine what is acceptable and what is not,” Nassau said. “It’s a tiresome gray area, and more clarity is necessary.”
David Migoya: 303-954-1506, firstname.lastname@example.org or @davidmigoya