Updated Feb. 2 at 2:40 p.m. The following clarification has been made: This story referred to Strainwise-branded marijuana stores and the cultivation facilities that are attached to their LLCs, but the shops and grows are owned by Shawn Phillips.
Denver marijuana business Organa Labs announced two voluntary recalls on Wednesday involving more than 1,000 OpenVape hash oil-loaded vape pen cartridges and other infused products made with cannabis originally grown in cultivations owned by Strainwise-branded pot shops.
While Organa Labs voluntarily recalled the products over the presence of illegal pesticides that Governor John Hickenlooper considers a threat to public safety, the company simultaneously lashed out at the city of Denver’s Department of Environmental Health for what Organa Labs called “a campaign against legal cannabis.”
More on pesticides and pot
Full list of recalled marijuana: Are you consuming pesticide-peppered pot? Check your stash against these recalled batch numbers
What exactly are these chemicals, and why are they banned? The five most common state-banned pesticides seen in the marijuana recalls issued by Denver’s Department of Environmental Health in 2015
The investigation that spurred the first recall: Denver Post-commissioned lab tests find banned pesticides in pot products
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All five of the banned pesticides on the Department of Environmental Health’s testing panel — imidacloprid, myclobutanil, etoxazole, avermectin and spiromesifen — were detected in Organa Labs’ two recalls announced Wednesday, the city’s 17th and 18th recalls in 19 weeks, according to Denver officials.
Organa Labs’ scathing statement, posted to its website this week (but then removed on Wednesday evening), calls into question Denver’s intentions and testing, which the city conducts exclusively at Wheat Ridge cannabis testing facility Gobi Analytical.
“We at Organa Labs are absolutely confident our products are safe … Yet the Denver Environmental Health department (DEH) has launched a campaign against legal cannabis based on an extremist interpretation of the state’s initial attempt to address pesticide regulation. This campaign threatens all Colorado cannabis consumers and safe access to quality products.”
The state regulation in question is a Nov. 12 executive order issued by Hickenlooper. The state had made previous attempts to regulate pesticide use on cannabis, including the April 2015 release of a list of approved pesticides from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
The city’s first pesticide-rooted recall of a marijuana product — a result of a Denver Post investigation that found high levels of banned pesticides in cannabis extracts made by Mahatma Concentrates — was issued on Sept. 8, 2015, more than two months before Hickenlooper’s executive order landed.
Emails and phone calls to Organa Labs and OpenVape were not immediately returned Wednesday. OpenVape products are currently available in eight legal marijuana states, though these recalls only affect products purchased by customers in Colorado shops.
Organa Labs’ first recall affects 1,071 OpenVape-branded vape pen cartridges loaded with strain-specific hash oils, including varietals Grandaddy Purps, Hindu Kush and eight others. One of the affected cartridge types, OpenVape’s Reserve Hybrid, falls under the company’s premium “Reserve” brand — touted on its website as “ultra-refined cannabis oil” and “the finest extracted oil available.”
Organa Labs’ second recall affects more than 40 strain-specific products and an undetermined number of packages — likely more OpenVape cartridges, according to the city — made with source material the company purchased from three cultivations owned by Strainwise-branded pot shops. The Strainwise-branded shops’ marijuana grows — Western Remedies, Rocky Mountain Farmacy and 5110 Race — also grew the source material behind the state’s largest pesticide recall to date, involving 99,574 packages of Mountain High Suckers in late-December.
Shawn Phillips, who owns the Strainwise-branded stores, had no comment when reached on Wednesday.
Organa Labs isn’t the only company to call into question the city’s marijuana recalls. Edibles company EdiPure, which has undergone four voluntary recalls because of the city’s pesticide concerns, called the city’s testing “dubious at best” in early December.
While no pesticide-related illnesses have yet been reported by cannabis users to local poison control centers, two people have sued LivWell, perhaps the state’s largest pot grower, for allegedly using banned pesticides on marijuana the customers later purchased.
Specific batch numbers for the affected products, which customers can find on a vape pen cartridges’s original packaging, are listed in the city’s press release. The Cannabist has been maintaining a full list of the city’s previous 16 marijuana recalls here.
The city is encouraging customers with any of the recalled products to dispose of them or return them to the point of purchase.