The pesticide crisis that has burdened Colorado’s cannabis industry since last September continues to persist but is perhaps nearing its end. While Colorado’s regulators continue to struggle with the pesticide issues, the Cannabist reported Friday that the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees the Marijuana Enforcement Division, expects to implement mandatory pesticide testing (finally) “sometime in 2017,” according to its Senior Director of Enforcement, Ron Kammerzell.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture retested samples from hundreds of unprocessed harvests, 34 pounds of dried cannabis and hundreds of plants that had been quarantined earlier this year, according to the the Cannabist, clearing and releasing it all:
Appeals to the Colorado Department of Agriculture prompted the agency to re-sample and re-test the marijuana, and much of it — including cannabis grown by Colorado shops The Farm, Caregivers for Life, Back to the Garden and wholesale grower Fat Face Farms — tested clean and was cleared to return to the marketplace.
The economic impact on the companies has been devastating, according to the Cannabist. Sally Bright, owner of Caregivers for Life, said that her losses exceeded $800K due to product being destroyed as well as a loss of customers. She is glad to have avoided bankruptcy, but she expects it will take 18 months to recover and had to agree, like the other owners, to not sue the state. Her attorney, Sean McAllister of McAllister Law Office offered an explanation of the April 20th administrative holds that followed the initial actions in January, though the Colorado Department of Agriculture disputes his argument:
The numbers we saw on those initial tests were so low that we independently sampled the HVACs and humidifiers in a number of cases and saw higher numbers than we saw in the plants.
Sean McAllister, Attorney for Caregivers for Life
We could have gone to court but instead we tried to work things out. Ultimately we got the right results, but it took four months after the March test results were returned to resolve this, and that was upsetting from the industry’s perspective because they almost bankrupted these businesses.
This release of product is the second such action, according to the Cananbist, which reports that there have been no recalls in over a month.
Read Ricardo Baca’s “State releases hundreds of recalled pot batches after they tested pesticide-free”: http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/07/29/marijuana-pesticides-recalled-products-released/59551/