Colorado cannabis regulators on Friday issued their 15th and 16th marijuana recalls in six weeks — placing on hold recreational and medical cannabis grown by two Sticky Buds locations and one former Sticky Buds grow now owned by Northern Lights Cannabis Co., over concerns the plants were grown with unapproved pesticides.
The April 1 recalls, called health advisories by the state, note that more than 55 batches of marijuana cultivated by Health Depot LLC, which does business as Sticky Buds Colfax and Sticky Buds Broadway, tested positive for avermectin; Fewer than 10 batches of cannabis grown by Wanna LLC, which does business as Northern Lights Cannabis Co., tested positive for myclobutanil.
Sticky Buds ownership had no comment when reached via telephone and e-mail on Friday.
Northern Lights owner Mitch Woolhiser, who sat on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s pesticide working group, said his purchase of the Wanna LLC cultivation from Sticky Buds was complete on Jan. 1, 2016 and that most of the recalled plants were in the ground before he took ownership.
“It’s a small operation over there,” Woolhiser said. “We’ve got 60 plants on hold and 17 pounds of product on hold.”
Woolhiser says he has no reason to believe any of his plants are tainted with banned pesticide myclobutanil — and he blames the sampling processes used by the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s staff.
“We have a strong suspicion that the Department of Agriculture’s shoddy process of taking samples has something to do with this,” Woolhiser said. “My business partner watched them remove a dirty multi tool from his pocket – a Leatherman-type tool, and it had visible red hairs and resin on it from prior applications. We begged them to use our instrument, but they wouldn’t. Their cart had visible dirt and plant material on it too.
“We’re in the process of exploring our rights as they pertain to the Department of Agriculture … We’re considering joining a lawsuit with other interested parties.”
Consumers who have any of the recalled retail pot products should return it to the place of purchase to ensure it is disposed of properly, the state said.
Before the state of Colorado began recalling pot products in February, the city of Denver issued 20 city-level recalls of marijuana products between September 2015 and February 2016.
It is unclear how large the recalls are or how many actual products or plants are affected. Product labels will contain the business’ medical license numbers; The recalled strains and batch numbers are listed in the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s press releases for Sticky Buds and Northern Lights Cannabis Co.
Northern Lights’ Woolhiser said the state-level recalls put businesses in a difficult situation.
“With 17 pounds and 60 plants held up right before 4/20, we’re looking at a serious supply problem,” he said. “It’s disheartening. We took over the second location, and now our good name is being dragged through the mud. It’s almost Kafkaesque. You can’t dispute it or do anything about it.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper in November declared that any marijuana grown with unapproved pesticides is a public health risk and should be destroyed.