Colorado: Denver Cracks Down On Pesticides In Marijuana Products

MMJAmericaDurbanPoison[AAronOntiveroz-TheDenverPost]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver health officials on Tuesday started inspecting and quarantining hundreds of cannabis products because their labels listed pesticides not approved by the state for use on marijuana.

The city's move came about six months after officials had quarantined 100,000 plants at 11 grow facilities due to concerns about pesticide use, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at The Denver Post.

No safety standards exist for pesticide use on marijuana. Since cannabis is illegal under federal law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticides, has never established any limits.

However, since marijuana is legal in Colorado, the state Department of Agriculture there has created a listed of allowed pesticides, as has its counterpart in Washington state, where recreational pot is also legal.

The quarantines were put on Mountain High Suckers and MMJ America after Denver's Department of Environmental Health late Monday warned businesses that products with labels reflecting the use of banned pesticides should be removed from shelves and destroyed, or returned to the manufacturers.

Colorado law requires all cannabis product labels to list pesticides, contaminants, fungicides and herbicides that were used, from germination to packaging.

Several hundred lozenges were quarantined at Mountain High after inspectors found labels listing the pesticide spinosad, an inseciticide slightly toxic to humans, said Dan Rowland, speaking for Denver's office of marijuana policy.

An undisclosed amount of marijuana, both shake and flower, also was quarantined at MMJ America over labels that disclosed spinosad use, Rowland said.

Representatives at both companies couldn't immediately be reached for comment. According to Mountain High's website, it makes cannabis-infused lozenges and suckers; MMJ America grows and sells its own marijuana.

“Safety of our customers and employees is a top concern for our members,” said Mike Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group. “This process demonstrates yet again that the regulated industry is always safer than the black market.”

State law says “it is unlawful for someone to use pesticides in a manner inconsistent with labeling directions or requirements,” said Mitch Yergert, director of the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s division of plant industry.

Two of the pesticides most broadly found, according to test results obtained by The Denver Post, were myclobutanil and imidacloprid. Myclobutanil is a fungicide whose label warns it may be harmful if inhaled and could impact the central nervous system. Imidacloprid is an insecticide that, according to its label, is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin — three ways that marijuana is consumed.

Both products, however, are allowed by the EPA for use on certain fruits and vegetables.