Pubdate: Tue, 27 Feb 2018
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2018 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Dylan McGuinness


The state Department of Public Health has suspended retail sales of
medical marijuana products at Healthy Pharms Inc. until further notice
after a sample tested positive for a pesticide, officials said Monday.

The company, which has retail locations in Cambridge and Georgetown,
notified the state on Friday that a sample batch of marijuana was
found to contain bifenthrin, a pesticide commonly used in food
products, the Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Registered marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are prohibited from
using pesticides on marijuana grown in their facilities, officials
said. Healthy Pharms said none of the marijuana from the contaminated
batch was sold to the public.

Valerio Romano, a lawyer for the company, said no plants were sprayed
with the pesticide. Employees had cleared all marijuana plants out of
a room in the cultivating facility to sanitize it with an
off-the-shelf product,which contained a pesticide. Once they began
using the room again, the plants were contaminated with residual
amounts of the pesticide, he said.

Dispensaries are required to notify state officials within three days
whenever a laboratory test indicates a contamination that can't be
rectified, officials said.

Marc Nascarella, the chief toxicologist for the state Department of
Public Health, said the company immediately quarantined all marijuana
that contained the pesticide, in compliance with state

Nascarella said the department will work with the state Department of
Agricultural Resources, which is responsible for pesticide regulation,
to "further look into the issue."

"We want to ensure that Healthy Pharms takes the appropriate
corrective action to prevent this from happening in the future," he

Romano said the company looks forward to working with the state.

"The DPH is doing their job in making sure patients have incredibly
safe access to medical cannabis ... this is the department following
the regulations to a T, and Healthy Pharms doing their best to go
along with that," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Matt