State Taking 'Precautionary Approach' To Pesticides Found In Marijuana

Dec 3, 2018

The discovery of potentially dangerous pesticide residue on marijuana has led to two product recalls in Colorado. The alerts have raised questions about consumer safety and the regulation of one of the state's fastest-growing industries.

KUNC reporter Matt Bloom spoke with Kyra Buckley about the details. Here's what you need to know:

There are two active recalls of medical products only - one for Lush in Denver (PDF), and one for Boulder Botanics in Boulder (PDF).

The state's Marijuana Enforcement Division put a list of affected serial numbers on its website , and they've launched an investigation into both recalls. Officials say if you have one of the products listed you should immediately return your product to the dispensary.

Cynthia Anderson, the owner of Lush, denies knowing anything about how the chemicals ended up on her product.

"I would not lie to our patients," she said. "I would not lie to MED. (…) We wanted to find out where this particular ingredient came from as much as anybody else."

Anderson said MED came to her store and made her destroy about $20,000 worth of cannabis on top of the recall.

The general manager of Boulder Botanics declined to comment at the time of publication.

There have not been any reports of illness from the affected products.

But the state isn't taking any risk.

Of the three pesticides listed in the advisories, none are approved by the state for use on marijuana (PDF) and two are listed as possible carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"No one's done the risk assessments to determine that this specific parts per million on cannabis would still be safe," said John Scott with the Colorado Department of Agriculture's pesticide division. "That's really the unknown and why we've taken the approach - a very precautionary approach."

Scott recommends if you're concerned about the products you use to speak with your grower and dispensary of choice to make sure they're using only "approved" pesticides.

He said the state is ramping up its mandatory pesticide testing for growers, so there may be more recalls in the future if MED deems it necessary.