Oregon Issues Recall for Pesticide-Tainted Pot

Oregon Issues Recall for Pesticide-Tainted Pot

By Paul Gaita 03/23/17

An Oregon dispensary sold 82.5 grams of the product to 31 customers before finding out the marijuana was tainted.

Image: 
a farmer planting marijuana

The state of Oregon issued its first recall of recreational marijuana after finding traces of pesticide residue on some samples.

In a press release dated March 18, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) wrote that retail plant material produced from marijuana and marketed under the product name Blue Magoo failed a test for levels of pyrethrin, a mixture of six chemicals found in some chrysanthemum flowers that are toxic to insects.

A wholesaler, Cascade Cannabis Distributing of Eugene, Oregon, shipped the product to a retail shop, Buds 4 U in Mapleton, a community 45 miles west of Eugene—before the test results could be recorded in the OLCC Cannabis Tracking System. The store sold 82.5 grams of the product to 31 customers between March 8 and March 10 before discovering the failed tests in the tracking system, and contacted the OLCC on March 10. 

The commission is requesting that anyone who bought the product should either return it to the retailer or dispose of it. The affected marijuana includes the following OLCC license numbers: 

050-1002850B56E

060-100301304FE

050-1002850B56E

and any of the following package numbers:

1A4010300005B05000000772 – product name: Blue Magoo

1A4010300005B05000000769 – product name: Blue Magoo 

1A4010300005911000000005 – product name: Blue Magoo

No illnesses have been reported in regard to the batch, though the commission is encouraging any consumers who are worried about exposure to the batch to contact their physician or the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222.

The remainder of the affected nine-pound batch—which was cultivated by the Cresswell, Oregon-based Emerald Wave Estate, LLC—remains in their possession, but has been placed on administrative hold and cannot be sold until additional pesticide retests can be conducted.

Per Oregon Department of Agriculture rules, pesticide application is the responsibility of the grower, and the oversight may qualify as a violation of administrative rules; failure to keep proper records is punishable by up to 10 days of business closure and a $1,650 fine. Four violations within a two-year period can result in license revocation.

Because marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug by the federal government, states are required to set their own regulations for testing recreational marijuana for possible contaminants. Testing can scan for dozens of active ingredients—Oregon tests for 59 such ingredients—and states have found all manner of dangerous contaminants in marijuana slated for medical and/or recreational use.

Tests conducted by the Denver, Colorado-based Charas Scientific laboratory found fungi, bacterial growth and traces of heavy metals and butane in samples in 2015, while another Colorado lab found mold, E. coli and salmonella in marijuana samples as part of a 2014 test.

Meanwhile, OLCC spokesperson Mark Pettinger praised the retailer for contacting the commission immediately after discovering the failed test results. "[They] get the gold star," he said

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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