Pubdate: Sat, 26 Mar 2016
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2016 The Denver Post Corp
Authors: Ricardo Baca and David Migoya


Denver No Longer Will Have Tests Done

More than a year after Denver started actively policing the marijuana 
industry's use of pesticides, the city's health department is 
changing its enforcement procedures.

Starting April 15, the Denver Department of Environmental Health will 
no longer test marijuana and pot products in a privately owned 
cannabis testing facility, the city wrote in an industry bulletin e- 
mailed Friday. Instead it will place marijuana products suspected of 
being contaminated with banned pesticides on hold, notify the state 
agencies that have picked up the recall process initially started by 
DEH and possibly order the plants or products to be destroyed, the 
bulletin said.

"We're taking a different approach here that's more in line with 
other regulated industries," said DEH executive director Bob 
McDonald. "It's always been an option for us to condemn product. That 
authority has always been there. But we've given the industry more 
than a year now to learn what the public health issues are. And we 
need to transition into more sustainable and consistent enforcement.

"This idea of testing product until it's deemed safe was never meant 
to be a long-term solution for this public health issue."

The city's pesticide-testing regimen has been the basis of the 20 
marijuana recalls issued by Denver and at least six of the 14 recalls 
later issued by the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division. The 
city's controversial lab tests for pesticide residues, conducted by a 
Wheat Ridge cannabis lab when none in Colorado had yet been certified 
by the state's health department, have been called into question by 
multiple companies undergoing recalls and maintaining their products' 

Edi Pure, one of Colorado's largest producers of cannabis-infused 
edibles, was the subject of four city-level recalls between October 
and December 2015. The company publicly questioned the lab tests 
conducted by the city's partner lab Gobi Analytical and is now 
appealing the recalls to the city's Board of Environmental Health.

"Edi Pure welcomes the clarity from DEH today regarding their 
enforcement of pesticides on cannabis," said Kyle Forti, an EdiPure spokesman.

But others in the industry are questioning how Denver will quantify 
pesticide contamination in the absence of testing.

"How does this get objectively measured?" asked Mark Slaugh, CEO of 
compliance outfit iComply and executive director of the Cannabis 
Business Alliance. "What is ' potentially contaminated'? This could 
have a negative side."

DEH's McDonald said his agency's investigations will involve 
interviews, spot checks, analysis of cultivation spray logs and more.

"Given the detailed investigations we do and information we collect, 
I'm confident that the decisions we make moving forward in the 
absence of testing will be solid decisions based on very detailed 
investigations," McDonald said.

Denver officials say today's marijuana is cleaner than it was when 
these enforcement actions first began in 2015.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom