The past decade has been a gold rush for the medical cannabis industry. Thousands have seen the opportunity to make a quick dollar and have jumped into an industry they hardly understand. Many would-be growers have no prior horticultural experience, and are ignorant of the risks associated with improperly grown cannabis. Others have no qualms about using dangerous chemicals and taking unethical shortcuts to produce their products. To make matters worse, many dispensary owners don’t understand the industry any better.
The market is flooded with cannabis that may appear to be high quality but in fact is coated in poisonous pesticides, fungicides, and plant growth regulator–or thriving with colonies of dangerous microbes–or both. While many cannabis users may not notice any ill effect in the short term, some medical cannabis users are seriously ill and highly susceptible to poisons, irritants, and microbes. These are the same patients who are not in a position to grow their own medicine and rely on dispensaries.
Source: Marijuana Growers Headquarters
U.S. Senate committee calls for national marijuana testing program
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee wants to establish national marijuana testing protocols, according to a new report published September 12, 2017. However, it’s not exactly a pro-cannabis industry move.
The committee members are interested in data on cannabis to help inform “substance abuse prevention efforts, public health policy and law enforcement tactics across the federal government,” according to the report.
The committee is calling for the National Institute on Drug Abuse to work with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement arms to “facilitate and ultimately fund a National Testing Program for Schedule I Marijuana-Derived Products in U.S. distribution.”
According to the report, the agencies will be test “samples seized by law enforcement and of samples collected by non-DEA approved sources to provide robust reliable data that can inform policy.”
Senators Daines and Tester from Montana are on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
80% Of Medical Marijuana tested at NorCal Conference tainted with mold, other toxins
Cannabis sold at Bay Area dispensaries is regularly referred to as “medicine,” however a lack of regulation and testing around the product has led to significant supply of marijuana on dispensary shelves being tainted and/or toxic to the people who consume it.
Following the recent HempCon at the Cow Palace in August, an array of medical marijuana products underwent testing by Hunters Point-based Anresco Laboratories. As San Francisco Magazine reports, some 80 percent of those tested from California-based growers and dispensaries, were tainted with mold, fungus, bacteria, pesticides, or harmful solvents — and the popular concentrates and oils used in vape pens and dabs can, because they’re concentrated, contain much higher amounts of these toxins.
Risk of infection from smoking mold-, fungus- or bacteria-laden marijuana buds has not been widely discussed or understood until recently. There was a report out of UC Davis earlier this year about a spate of rare fungal infections in cancer patients’ lungs that doctors traced to the patients’ use of medical marijuana. In one of those cases where the patient’s immune system was compromised by chemotherapy, the patient died from the infection.
Pot laced with pesticides forces states to act as EPA stays away
“Whenever Josh Wurzer buys legal California pot, he makes certain it was grown without pesticides.
That’s because Wurzer, as president of cannabis-testing company SC Labs, knows how prevalent the use of health-threatening chemicals are in an industry that until recently operated mostly in the shadows. Three to four of every 10 samples that SC tests reveal the presence of pesticides that shouldn’t be used on cannabis, including one that turns into a poisonous gas when ignited, he said.
“I don’t want some farmer with no one looking over their shoulder spraying away all kinds of pesticides that they don’t really understand, that they are not really trained to use,” said Wurzer, who has a doctor’s prescription to buy pot. “I choose to get cannabis from people I know aren’t using pesticides.”
With 29 states and the District of Columbia now allowing medical or recreational cannabis use, the $6 billion U.S. industry is expected to reach $50 billion by 2026, according to investment bank Cowen & Co. Yet many states are just beginning to check for pesticides, while some have no testing program at all. California, where voters approved medical marijuana 20 years ago, won’t begin testing for impurities until recreational sales begin Jan. 1.
Regulating pesticides for marijuana plants is a state issue because the federal government still classifies pot as an illegal drug. That’s prevented the Environmental Protection Agency from evaluating the safe use of cannabis pesticides, as it does for all other crop chemicals. An attempt by Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. to register some pesticides for pot was rebuffed in June by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.”
Booker Debuts ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ to Legalize Cannabis
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced legislation that would end federal cannabis prohibition and begin to repair some of the lasting damage done by the war on drugs.
“I believe the federal government should get out of the illegal marijuana business,” Booker said. “You see what’s happening around this country right now. Eights states and the District of Columbia have moved to legalize marijuana. And these states are seeing decreases in violent crime in their states. They’re seeing increases in revenue to their states. They’re seeing their police forces being able to focus on serious crime. They’re seeing positive things come out of that experience.”
State of Washington law paves way for organic marijuana market
Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed a bill that paves the way for the state to create what is believed to be the first system in the United States to certify marijuana as organic.
The sponsor of the bill, Republican Senator Ann Rivers, said marijuana certified as organically grown is likely to be on sale in Washington in about a year and a half.
Washington is among a handful of U.S. states where voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana. Washington was the second state to begin legal recreational pot sales, in mid-2014, after its voters in 2012 approved it.
“This is consumer-driven,” Rivers told Reuters by phone on Tuesday night. “As we have moved forward in the legal marijuana market, we’re hearing people say, ‘We don’t want any pesticides, fungicides, none of that stuff in our weed.”
Canada: Producers must test medical cannabis for pesticides
Spurred by more incidents of pesticide-tainted medical marijuana, Health Canada is demanding that the country’s federally licensed MMJ producers test their products for unauthorized pesticides.
The federal agency, which oversees Canada’s MMJ industry, said plants from two producers – Peace Naturals in Ontario and Hydropothecary in Quebec – recently tested positive for myclobutanil.
Regulators said in a news release they soon will issue guidelines on how Canada’s licensed producers should conduct the tests and report results.
Looking ahead, cannabis testing likely will become a hot-button issue as Canada moves forward with plans to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018.
Mandatory testing needed for pot customers confidence.
It started in Oregon with the breaking of “A Tainted High.” It then moved to Colorado with 19 marijuana and marijuana product recalls in 19 weeks in 2015. Washington then overhauled its pesticide program to prevent illegal pesticides on its regulated cannabis products (which eventually led to recall rules for the first time in the state). Now, California is finally learning how dangerous its cannabis can be, and it is only a matter of time before state regulators under California’s Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act MCRSA and Adult Use of Marijuana Act AUMA institute regulations to ensure cannabis quality and to end the use of toxic and harmful marijuana pesticides.
Oregon Might Be Saying Goodbye to Clean Cannabis
Out of all the states that have legalized adult-use of cannabis, Oregon currently has the toughest pesticide testing laws.
The issue, however, “it appears the current shortage is being driven by pesticide contaminated cannabis,” reports Keith Mansur with the Oregon Cannabis Connection.
According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), 10% of cannabis flower and 26% of concentrates are failing tests for pesticides.
Mansur reports that the estimation for failed concentrate tests due to pesticides is more likely close to 50% and 70%; the OHA only used reported failures in collecting their data but many tests were conducted as a prescreen and never reported to the OHA. When pesticide-covered cannabis is extracted, those pesticides concentrate in the oil as well, creating a poisonous cocktail.
Scientists resolve marijuana safety testing without federal guidelines
By Emily Gray Brosious
Federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration set safety guidelines outlining acceptable pesticide use for most crops intended for human consumption. But not for cannabis.
Like any agricultural commodity, cannabis is vulnerable to attacks from pests and pathogens, and some growers use insecticides, fungicides and other crop protection agents to guard against these destructive elements. Unfortunately, many crop protection agents can contaminate cannabis and create health risks for consumers.
Products intended for human consumption typically must undergo safety testing to minimize the risk of contamination from pesticides, microbes, toxins or residual solvents. Such testing is particularly relevant for cannabis because the plant is often used for medical purposes by people with compromised immune systems, who have an elevated risk of suffering negative health consequences due to contaminants.
But because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, there are no federal guidelines for acceptable levels of residual pesticides, molds, solvents or heavy metals. Without federal guidance, medical cannabis safety standards and consumer protections are left to state discretion.
Investigation: CA MMJ Dispensary pulls pesticide-laced pot products
CA Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation says safety policies are coming by end of 2017.
After an NBC4 I-Team investigation revealed that some of California’s medical marijuana supply was contaminated with potentially toxic pesticides, several local dispensaries have pulled pot products off their shelves. And, the California agency responsible for overseeing medical cannabis is promising that safety regulations, which would aim to prevent pesticide contamination, are coming by the end of the year.
“We literally just pulled them off the shelf. We don’t feel comfortable giving that to our patients,” said a manager at the Hollywood High Grade Dispensary. Tests found at least three products had some level of pesticide contamination.
Source: NBCLosAngeles.com Investigations
High pesticide level spurs 1st recreational marijuana recall
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued its first recall of recreational marijuana after samples of a type of pot were found to contain a level of pesticide residue above the state limit.
The Blue Magoo marijuana was sold at Buds 4 U in Mapleton, a community 45 miles west of Eugene, The Capital Press reported (http://bit.ly/2nybwGO). The commission, which oversees retail sales of recreational pot, said people who bought the drug should return it to the retailer or throw it out.
The retailer notified the agency immediately after spotting the failed pesticide reading in the state’s cannabis tracking system, commission spokesman Mark Pettinger said. The shop sold the brand to 31 customers March 8-10, 2017.
After recalls, marijuana industry focuses on sharing test results
Contaminant-free marijuana is ‘paramount’ for medical users, says pot branding consultant
By Solomon Israel, CBC News
Government-approved marijuana producers and unsanctioned dispensaries alike are giving priority to quality control testing after recalls of pesticide-contaminated marijuana.
The focus on testing for contaminants — and sharing those results with the public — was highlighted this past week by Alberta-based firm Aurora Cannabis. Aurora began posting certificates of analysis for all its products online on Thursday, a move that came after voluntary recalls of medical marijuana produced by New Brunswick’s Organigram and Ontario’s Mettrum.
Mar 12, 2017
Source: CBC News
Colorado congressman Mike Coffman vows to fight AG Sessions on marijuana
DENVER — Rep. Mike Coffman is suggesting he might use the power of the purse to protect Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.
During a telephone town hall Wednesday evening the Republican congressman was asked about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ threat to crack down on states like Colorado that have legalized recreational marijuana.
Coffman noted that he opposed the ballot measures that legalized both medical and recreational marijuana in the state. But he added that since voters approved them they are now Colorado law. He said the federal government should not interfere and he hopes Sessions doesn’t follow through on his warning.
If Sessions does take action Coffman said he’d “have to fight the Attorney General on this.” He suggested he’d do so through Congress’ power to appropriate money for the administration’s budget.
MAR 16, 2017
Colorado grow shop hit with EPA fines for unlabeled pesticides
An agricultural grow shop in a Denver suburb was slapped with a $27,500 fine by federal regulators for repackaging and selling pesticides without the required labeling.
At least two of the pesticides in question led directly to marijuana product recalls in recent years.
The situation could prove another indication the federal government is keeping an increasingly close eye on the marijuana industry.
Grow Depot in Northglenn agreed to the fine by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after the bureau found that hop employees were pouring pesticides into 1-ounce containers from the original bottles and selling them without proper legal labeling, the Denver Post reported.
Farmers in Italy fight soil contamination with cannabis
Farmers in a region of Italy once known for cheeses have turned to cultivating a type of cannabis — not to smoke or sell — but to decontaminate polluted soil.
The hemp they’re growing contains very little THC — the compound that makes people high.
Vincenzo Fornaro showed CBS News an empty farm, once packed with more than 600 sheep.
“For generations, our family produced ricotta and meat,” Fornaro recalled.
It wasn’t until 2008 when Italy’s government discovered the toxic chemical dioxin in his sheep and slaughtered the entire herd. The culprit was just a mile away.
Contaminants spewing from a massive steel plant — Europe’s largest — meant Fornaro could never have grazing animals again. To clean up his land he decided to try a rather unusual experiment.
Virginia Republican introduces bill to end federal marijuana prohibition
“A freshman Republican representative from Virginia introduced legislation this week that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana use and allow states to fully set their own course on marijuana policy.
The bill seeks to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and resolve the existing conflict between federal and state laws over medical or recreational use of the drug. It would not legalize the sale and use of marijuana in all 50 states — it would simply allow states to make their own decisions on marijuana policy without the threat of federal interference.”
Source: Washington Post 03.04.17
Growing without synthetic pesticides
By John Schroyer
Grower Ethan Rubendall, head of plant nutrition at California’s Fleurish Farms, is arguably an extremist: He refuses to use chemicals on his cannabis plants, opting instead for all-natural techniques to fight pests.
He argues his approach – including the use of plant-based sprays and aphid-repelling crops like chickpeas – is more effective than the potentially toxic chemicals other MJ growers use.which have blossomed into a hot-button issue among cultivators and activists over the past year. Synthetic pesticides have made headlines for causing product recalls in Colorado and new regulations in several more states.
Source: Marijuana Business Daily
Alaskan officials raid recreational cannabis shops, seize “thousands of dollars worth of imported CBD oil,” the Alaska Journal reported.
A news release from the Alaska Marijuana Control Office confirmed Thursday that “several retail stores” appeared to be in violation of state laws that mandate specific testing, labeling and packaging for marijuana products. But executives from those shops told the newspaper they were confused because the seized oils were derived from hemp, not marijuana.
The incident illustrates the ongoing lack of clarity between federal and state law in differentiating between hemp products – which are legal to ship across state lines and are not governed as strictly as marijuana – and cannabis products, which must be produced in-state and can’t be taken across state lines.
“It was my understanding that hemp products and this product in particular were OK,” one Alaska rec shop owner told the Journal. “I was unaware that this would be an issue. I wouldn’t be selling it if I thought it would be a problem.”
The state doesn’t seem to have much in the way of answers; its statement said only that the control office will be monitoring the situation and that “further details will be released as they become available” regarding what MJ businesses can and cannot do with hemp and CBD.”
Source: Marijuana Business Daily MJBizDaily.com
“More than a million dollars of medical marijuana destroyed as patients’ fears grow that Health Canada has no way of knowing how big the problem actually is.
Canopy Growth Corp., which recently acquired Mettrum Ltd., said on Tuesday that it has written off about $800,000 of costs owing to a series of product recalls Mettrum announced starting in November.
Those recalls came after Mettrum was caught with a banned pesticide and known carcinogen in products that were sold in 2016. A former Mettrum employee told The Globe and Mail that he witnessed staff spraying plants with myclobutanil as far back as 2014, despite knowing the chemical is prohibited, because it emits hydrogen cyanide when heated.
To evade detection, he said, staff hid the pesticide in the ceiling tiles of the company’s offices when Health Canada inspectors visited the site, aware that the department wasn’t testing the plants for banned chemicals.”
Read full article at The Globe & Mail
Canada has not been testing cannabis for potential harmful chemicals
“Health Canada, which is facing a growing controversy over tainted medical marijuana, cannot say with certainty how widespread the use of banned pesticides is within the industry. Instead, the regulator has been leaving it up to the growers to police themselves on the use of potentially harmful chemicals.
In a background briefing with The Globe and Mail, a senior Health Canada official acknowledged that even though the government prohibits the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as myclobutanil, – which is known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated –the department has not been testing cannabis growers to ensure the 38 federally licensed companies were, in fact, not using it.
“Up until this point, we have not required licensed producers [LPs] to test for any unauthorized pesticides, nor have we been testing all LPs, and it is because we expect their companies to be pro-actively watching and taking the appropriate measures to ensure non-authorized products aren’t used,” the senior official said.”
Read the entire article at The Globe & Mail.
“Health Canada said it will begin random testing of medical marijuana after two of the nation’s licensed producers recalled MMJ that was contaminated with unapproved pesticides.
The government health agency implemented the testing plan in response to the MMJ recall late last year by OrganiGram of Moncton, New Brunswick, and Mettrum of Toronto. Both used chemicals that are not among the nation’s 13 approved pesticides.
The growers’ recall of cannabis tainted with myclobutanil, bifenazate and pyrethrins affected roughly 25,000 medical marijuana patients in Canada, according to CBC News.”
Source: Marijuana Business Daily MJBizDaily.com
Tainted Medical Marijuana may have killed CA man
“A cancer patient in California is dead, and doctors suspect contaminated medical marijuana may have been the cause in what could serve as a wake-up call for the state’s MMJ industry.
According to CBS Los Angeles, the man was using medical cannabis to ward off the side effects of traditional cancer treatments. The cancer treatment compromised the patient’s immune system, and he unexpectedly contracted a rare fungal infection that ultimately killed him.
The fungus that killed the patient “was equivalent to what is on rodent droppings,” CBS Los Angeles reported.
Source: Marijuana Business Daily MJBizDaily.com
First pesticide-tested certified cannabis product hits the shelves
The first “safe” cannabis product was delivered to Satori 502 cannabis retail store, Spokane, WA 05-05-16
The Safe Cannabis Project (SCP) is a group of industry leaders including testing labs, growers, processors and retailers who have been working with government officials, laboratory scientists and industry professionals to develop testing standards and protocols and to design a sampling methodology to ensure accurate and legitimate testing. The Safe Cannabis Project logo allows consumers to make informed decisions about their purchase of pesticide-tested cannabis products. A key goal of the SCP is also to educate retailers and consumers about pesticide use in general and “safe cannabis”.
Quality Assurance Work Group
On April 15, 2016, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) established the Quality Assurance Work Group to enhance the quality assurance testing protocols of recreational and medical cannabis. The WSLCB selected 10 private sector individuals to assist in establishing policies that help ensure end user safety. Trace Analytics’ Chief Operating Officer, Jason Zitzer, was selected as one of the Work Group’s representatives.
WA state imposes proficiency testing for cannabis testing labs
Breaking News by Alan Brochstein, CFA
Following controversy regarding the accuracy of mandated cannabis lab tests and a public call for action by Steep Hill (below), Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has imposed emergency rules regarding proficiency testing.
Open letter from Steep Hill cannabis testing lab
“Cannabis is safe but some contaminants can kill you.”
“Pesticide poisoning, as well as exposure to microbiological organisms like E. coli or Aspergillus can be fatal - especially for an immunosuppressed patient. We know that cannabis products sometimes contain these contaminants. Yet some certified laboratories in Washington State have recently been shown to still be approving them for sale.
You might ask, how is this possible? Isn’t the State watching over the suppliers and the supply chain? The answer is that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link, and some labs have been found to have even falsified test results to help their clients get unsafe products to market.
A recent third-party audit of certified i502 laboratories identified Steep Hill as one of the top labs in Washington. While that does make us proud, we don’t view that as a sign of perfection. We are obligated to offer consumers the assurance of knowing that any product tested by Steep Hill is a product that is clean and safe. Proper science requires investment and commitment.
Only certain labs have accepted this responsibility - and we’re happy to stand at the forefront of consumer safety alongside other top-notch Washington test labs like Trace Analytics. Together we are here to uphold the highest standards of quality in the cannabis industry - and we can’t all succeed if other laboratories willfully invite contaminated cannabis onto dispensary and recreational market shelves.”
Source: Steep Hill
Federal reclassification of cannabis boon for medical marijuana research
“Federal authorities have announced that they are reviewing the possibility of loosening the classification of marijuana, and if this happens, it could have a far-reaching impact on how the substance is used in medical settings, experts said.
Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is listed alongside heroin and LSD as among the “most dangerous drugs” and has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration announced last week that it is reviewing the possibility of reclassifying it as a Schedule II drug, which would put it in the same category as Ritalin, Adderal and oxycodone.
Medical experts welcome the review, saying it could ease restrictions for researchers, so that they can better understand which compounds in marijuana could be used to help patients.
The American Medical Association told ABC News that the group supports the review “to help facilitate scientific research and the development of cannabinoid-based medicines.”
RESPONSE: Medical Marijuana DOH Hearings, Spokane, WA 03-22-16
by Tracy Sirrine. Patients for Patients
Dear Medical Advisory Board,
I am writing to you today with great concern. The state is not, in my opinion, prepared to help the patients of Washington State obtain access to affordable and medical grade, no contaminates, heavy metals, or pesticides, products for cannabis products.
The Patient Protection Act has drastically reduced the patients ability to grow their own medication.
Many of the products that patients are currently using successfully, will not be available when the markets merge. Providing them with a equal or superior product is the responsibility of the WSLCCB and the DOH, under current law. Your proposed CBD ratio’s are not only expensive but also unattainable without being able to concentrate in ways you are not allowing with proposal. Also there is no research to support such high ratio dosing for individuals.
Spokane lab finds pesticides in many marijuana products
By Kip Hill, Spokesman Review
Searching for contaminants on marijuana is a lot like spying a certain red-and-white clad everyman in a children’s book, lab owner Gordon Fagras said.
“You’ve got to find Waldo, hidden in all that stuff,” he said, plying a test tube full of marijuana edibles at Trace Analytics in downtown Spokane earlier this month.
Turns out, there were lots of Waldos hidden in samples tested from across the state. Fagras’ lab, on the request of a doctor who actively fought the legalization of marijuana in Washington state and an organization calling for pesticide-free pot, tested dozens of flower and concentrate samples straight from store shelves.
State regulators and the marijuana industry are preparing for a significant change in state rules later this year when medical marijuana will fall under the same regulations as recreational marijuana for the first time. The change is prompting some to push the state to more strictly enforce rules on pesticides.
In results first published by Seattle’s alternative weekly newspaper the Stranger, Trace Analytics found multiple products containing pesticide levels in the tens of thousands parts per billion range.
The Washington Department of Health publishes a list of pesticides approved for use on marijuana. Using any other chemical is outlawed, but there’s no systematic test in place to discover violations.
Unlike produce and tobacco, there are few studies on the harmful effects of smoking marijuana containing large amounts of pesticides. And the way the state’s marijuana laws are written, enforcement is driven by complaints and randomized testing from the Liquor and Cannabis Board, which have produced relatively few violations for pesticide-related offenses compared to other issues.
“The state’s making a valiant effort to get it right, but if you’re looking at it inside the system, there’s holes everywhere,” Fagras said.
Source: Spokesman Review
Ecological agriculture comes to commercial marijuana
by Richard Freeman, Ph.D.
In the rapidly evolving marijuana industry, resilience and adaptability are emerging as key traits for business survival. Successful investors, farmers and managers are able to sense trends while quickly adapting to unexpected developments. The industry was born in change, emerging from prohibition-era economics to mainstream agriculture, where cannabis farmers are no longer dominated by the need for stealth and can focus directly on cultivation.
Source: Marijuana Venture
25 more products on shelves at recreational marijuana stores have tested positive for illegal pesticides
By Tobias Coughlin-Bogue, The Stranger
The Uncle Ike’s pesticide tests were just an appetizer. The entrée is even harder to swallow.
Recently, Dr. Gil Mobley, as well as the Clean Cannabis Association (CCA), commissioned a series of pesticide tests at Trace Analytics on random samples of Washington recreational marijuana products.
I just got the results from the 37 concentrate and flower products submitted in their tests, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news (again and again and again), but we’re totally fucking fucked. Since this legal weed bonanza began, I’ve written a lot of articles calling attention to the issue of pesticides on our pot,and I’ve been told by a lot of different people—the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) especially—that I’m beating a dead horse.
Well, 25 concentrate and flower products failed the test. Three out of ten flower samples came up positive for illegal pesticides, while 22 of 27 concentrate samples came up positive for illegal pesticides, many of them at eye-popping levels.
While I’m not the least bit surprised to see popular concentrate products ringing in at tens of thousands of parts per billion (ppb) of banned pesticides, I am pretty goddamn dismayed. Especially when every cannabis producer’s website goes on at length about how their products are the purest puff of unicorn farts to ever grace a vape pen. They’re not. The levels discovered in these tests are irrefutable evidence that people have been actively spraying their products with some really terrible pesticides.
Source: The Stranger Slog
Colorado Grower Fighting Back Over Product Recall
Pesticide-related product recalls in Colorado’s cannabis industry have become increasingly common over the past year, but possibly for the first time, a company facing a “massive” recall is decrying the action by the state and claiming it never used the pesticide officials say contaminated its samples.
MGI Inc., which does business as Kindman, is the target of a recall involving possibly dozens of strains grown over a nearly two-year period, according to the Denver Post. The recall was initiated by state officials after samples from Kindman tested positive for imidacloprid, an insecticide not approved for use on cannabis.
But Kindman CEO Ryan Fox said in a statement on Thursday that his company “absolutely has not used this pesticide in production.”
Cannabis consumer product safety
CannaNews, DOPE Magazine
The path to cannabis’ legalization and its acceptance as a legitimate medicine in this country has been long, tortuous, and unconventional, but now the industry faces a conventional threat that has hobbled many agricultural crop producers in the past: the use of pesticides. The threat that pesticides pose is twofold.
First, pesticide-tainted cannabis, especially in its concentrated form, might harm users’ health in the short- and long-term. Second, is public perception–regardless of the facts–that the cannabis on store shelves is laced with pesticides that can compromise human health, which, in return, could lead to financial losses all along the cannabis supply chain.
This has been seen before within Washington’s apple industry. It suffered crippling losses in the early 1990s when the use of the pesticide Alar, a known carcinogen, became widely known. Washington regulatory agencies, including the state Department of Health, the state Department of Agriculture, and the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, are developing standards for pesticide use on cannabis crops, but that’s only half the solution. It’s critical that the state develops, and enforces, strict standards on the use of unsanctioned pesticides and ensures that testing and labeling of all cannabis products sold in the state is thorough and transparent.
Cannabis testing labs forced to suspend operations. Concern over pesticide use rattles industry.
Testing Technologies in Poulsbo, Washington State, has hit pause on its cannabis testing services after firing its science director, alleging that potency values were “pulled from thin air” and that tests for contaminants were inaccurate.
The company’s CEO, Larry Ward, announced the situation in a letter to customers, according to the Seattle Times.
But the company’s erstwhile science director, Dustin Newman, who was fired Feb. 10, countered with his own letter alleging Ward let him go because of business disputes.
Ward blamed a profit-sharing arrangement with Newman that incentivized the scientist to produce business-friendly results.
To avoid such problems in the future, Ward said he would contract rather than hire his scientific directors. For now, the lab can’t test until it finds a new science chief and receives a new state certification.
Regulators from Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board met with officials from the state’s 11 other labs on March 7 to discuss how to improve testing standards.
Jim MacRae, a data scientist who analyzed the results of the state’s 12 labs last year, told the Times on Monday that Testing Technologies had the most business-friendly rating of the labs.
Earlier, MacRae said there were four labs that didn’t fail any cannabis for contaminants, while two labs failed 44% of the product they tested, a variation that he said was illogical.
Daily News | Briefs | Testing Labs | Washington State Medical Cannabis Business & Marijuana Legal News
More Colorado pot recalled over pesticide concerns
State marijuana regulators on Monday recalled 31 batches covering five strains of medical marijuana grown and sold by a Bailey dispensary, the latest in a string of product health advisories over pesticide concerns.
Officials say marijuana grown by Sunrise Solutions is impacted, including flower, trim, concentrates and infused products, and consumers should return them to the place of purchase to ensure they are properly disposed. The recall — the state calls it a health advisory — comes after regulators say tests confirm the presence of pesticides that are not approved for use on marijuana. The owners of the dispensary and cultivation could not be immediately reached.
It is unclear how large the recall is or how many products and plants are affected. Product labels will contain the business’s license number, 403-00856 or 402-00576, The list of strains can be found on the state’s website. The company’s website did not offer any information about the recall or that one has been declared.
It is the state’s sixth recall since its first announcement on Feb. 17and comes after Gov. John Hickenlooper in November declared that any marijuana grown with unapproved pesticides is a public health risk and should be destroyed.
“Certified Organic” really doesn’t mean anything when it comes to marijuana.
Because marijuana is still illegal federally, and organic standards are regulated at the federal level, non-organic growers can market their product as organic without consequence. The Associated Press reports that Colorado is trying to fix that problem—at least for marijuana being sold in the state.
“Consumers have a right to know what they’re putting in their body,” Colorado Representative Jonathan Singer told the AP. He’s sponsoring a bill that will allow organic regulation at the state level. It will be heard before the state House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee for the first time on Friday. The bill doesn’t actually lay out standards for organic marijuana, but requests that a third party be enlisted by the state’s agricultural department to draft them.
Washington’s first 502 marijuana product recall.
For many months, marijuana product recalls stemming from the use of prohibited pesticides have been a consistent problem in Colorado, while Washington seemed, for a while, to be free of such concerns. On Friday, however, Washington-based cannabis wholesaler Evergreen Herbal issued the state’s first voluntary pot product recall due to pesticide concerns.
The recall is thanks to unfortunate growing mishaps by two producers — New Leaf Enterprises and BMF Washington — who were recently investigated by the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) for the use of prohibited pesticides.
Source: The Ganjapreneur
Marijuana found to improve brain function - as long as it’s not laced with pesticides!
“Notably, there are moderate advantages to be garnered from medicinal cannabis. Unfortunately, it also possess some disadvantages which should be considered. Marijuana can reverse cognitive decline…as long as it’s not laced with toxic pesticides. One of the most surprising and recent revelations about cannabinoids are their capability to perform as antioxidants in the brain.
German experts have found that the brain’s cannabinoid system has the capability of restoring impaired brain cells, while developing new ones. Cannabinoids may curb the effects of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease and possibly more.
The news was revealed in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The researchers discovered that natural marijuana, that is marijuana devoid of pesticides, can curb brain inflammation behind an onslaught of cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other similar diseases.”
Pesticide Testing and Cannabis Product Safety
Spokane cannabis testing lab now screening for banned pesticide residue on recreational marijuana destined for consumers.
At present, the Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board does not mandate testing for pesticides on recreational marijuana. While the WSLCB and Washington Department of Agriculture have approved over 200 pesticides, the vast majority usually connected with cannabis are banned from use. As consumers become more aware of the situation, the pushback against all pesticide-use is gaining momentum.
Many advocacy groups in the state have been attempting to raise public awareness about the safety of the medical and recreational supply and some have resorted to protesting outside high visibility retail stores to draw attention to the facts. They are pointing fingers at the WSLCB over the apparent lack of strict enforcement of their own rules and oversight of the states’ 12 approved cannabis labs.
Safety of Medical Marijuana Challenged
A Missouri doctor questions the safety of marijuana in Washington state’s pot system. But labs and the state agency that regulates pot question his findings and tactics.
“Seated at a desk inside his downtown Seattle hotel room, Dr. Gil Mobley pulled out a sterile field surgery kit, snapped on latex gloves and pulled a mask over his face. He carefully arranged his medical instruments, grabbed tweezers and went to work.
Mobley, 60, wasn’t performing hotel-room surgery. He and fellow medical-marijuana activist Brian Stone were carefully preparing two ounces of Blazin’s Grapefruit purchased that morning from Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop in Seattle’s Central District. The pot cost more than $700.
The room reeked when a hotel maid cracked the door and said, “housekeeping.” Mobley shooed her away. Mobley and Stone ground about half the golf-ball-size buds, then loaded three grams of powdered pot and three grams of fresh bud into 16 plastic vials.
Later that day, Mobley took his vials along with packages of marijuana concentrate to five Seattle-area labs. He took a slew of samples to Portland for pesticide testing later that week. Convinced he’d find wide-ranging results, Mobley sought to discredit the Initiative 502 testing program.
“I have a hypothesis. It’s a gamble it will work out. We need consistent testing and to add pesticides” to current regulations for recreational marijuana, he said.
Support for Medical Marijuana Grows in Tennessee - Especially for Veterans
by Robert Celt
Republican state Rep. Jeremy Faison represents East Tennessee’s 11th District. He says he’s never smoked marijuana, nor taken any kind of intoxicant. But that doesn’t stop him from supporting what he believes to be the medical benefit of the plant, particularly in aiding post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans.
Faison’s colleague, Matthew Hill, a Republican state representative elected by the constituents of Washington County’s 7th District, says like Faison, he’s never smoked marijuana, or cannabis.
But his support of medical marijuana doesn’t necessarily go as far as his colleague.
Hawaii Department of Health Selects BioTrackTHC for its Seed-to-Sale Tracking
PRNewswire/ — The Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance has selected BioTrackTHC™ as the winner apparent for its state contract for tracking the production, transportation and sale of medical marijuana.
“The development of a healthy and successful medical cannabis program is a top priority for Hawaii, and we are extremely proud to have been chosen to be a critical part of it,” said Patrick Vo, CEO, BioTrackTHC. “The islands of Hawaii are truly unique and we very much look forward to applying our expertise in solving the cannabis traceability challenges unique to Hawaii.”
BioTrackTHC’s government software solution will provide the Hawaii Department of Health real-time visibility into the seed-to-sale tracking data of every licensed medical marijuana dispensary in the state, including plant and inventory quantities, production activity, laboratory testing results, transportation activity, and dispensing activity.
This marks the fifth cannabis-related government contract won by the company. BioTrackTHC’s seed-to-sale Traceability System for government agencies is currently being utilized by the states of Washington, New Mexico, and Illinois, and is in the process of implementation by New York. The company’s Enterprise System for businesses is used in more than 1,500 medical and recreational cannabis facilities in 23 states, Washington D.C., Canada, Jamaica and South America. These technologies enable government agencies and businesses to track every plant and every fraction-of-a-gram of cannabis throughout the production lifecycle—cultivation, harvest and cure, quality assurance testing, transportation, destruction, and sale—bringing transparency, accountability, and meaningful insights to cannabis operations.
The Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in November of last year and posted a Notice of Award naming BioTrackTHC on December 28, 2015.
Bio-Tech Medical Software, Inc., through its BioTrackTHC division, develops and provides effective, cutting-edge technology solutions for the emerging medical and recreational marijuana industry. Visit www.BioTrackTHC.com for more information, email@example.com or call 1-800-797-4711 to order software, and follow @BioTrackTHC on Twitter. Bio-Tech Medical Software, Inc. is a privately-held company, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Cannabis Testing Lab Results Vary Widely
By Bob Young
Seattle Times staff reporter
Some state-certified marijuana labs testing for microbes such as E. coli and mold appear more friendly to pot merchants than others, according to an analysis by a Woodinville data scientist.
Four labs rejected none of the pot they tested over a three-month period last year, according to the analysis by Jim MacRae. Four other labs failed more than 12 percent of samples tested over the same time, with two labs rejecting 44 percent of samples for microbes.
“It’s almost impossible for that to happen,” said David Lampach, co-founder of Steep Hill Labs in Tukwila, of the disparity.
Source: Seattle Times
Pesticides CO: largest recall of marijuana products yet
It was a dark day in Denver for edibles and the people who love them. More than 99,500 packages of Mountain High Suckers—marijuana-infused candy—were recalled on Wednesday, the Cannabist reports. It was Denver’s largest recall of marijuana or marijuana products yet and the 15th such recall in 16 weeks. Back in November, Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered the destruction of any marijuana treated with unapproved pesticides or any product made with that marijuana. According to the Cannabist, Mountain High Suckers’ products tested positive for imidacloprid and myclobutanil, pesticides Hickenlooper has called a “threat to the public safety” and that the state has banned for use on marijuana plants.
Mountain High Suckers apologized to its customers on Facebook. “We decided to take a proactive step and submit samples of all of our products for pesticide testing so we can help make sure that our products are safe,” the company states. “Going forward, we will be voluntarily submitting every concentrate batch we make for full pesticide screening before we make products.” Because marijuana remains illegal federally, the EPA has yet to actually rule on what pesticides are safe for use on cannabis crops.
Confusion Surrounds Cannabis Testing
Pull back the curtain on the testing side of the industry, and you’ll find a complete mess – a disturbing mixture of incompetency and profiteering.
The biggest thing cannabis advocates can do to ensure safer testing standards is to lobby for the end of federal prohibition.
“Cannabis testing is all over the place because of the federal status,” Donald Land says. “The best thing we can do is get the law changed and that requires a lot of congressmen and senators getting phone calls and letters from their constituents to change things on a federal level. It’s still a political battle.”