Denver Marijuana Industry Bulletin
Enforcement Procedures for Contaminated Marijuana Products
March 25, 2016
Dear Denver Marijuana Industry Members,
Now that it has been a full year since the city first took regulatory action on marijuana products contaminated with unapproved pesticide residues, Denver Environmental Health (DEH) is transitioning to an enforcement approach for the marijuana industry that is consistent with the other industries it regulates.
Beginning April 15, marijuana products that are found to be potentially contaminated with unapproved pesticide residues may be condemned by DEH and ordered destroyed.
As it does with other industries, DEH will use enforcement tools such as administrative citations for imminent health hazards and summonses to court for noncompliance. Denver businesses that use potentially contaminated plant material may be subject to civil penalties, recall orders, condemnation orders, and in cases of purposeful action or egregious negligence, recommendations to Denver Excise & Licenses for action against a business license.
As noted in previous bulletins, the Colorado Department of Agriculture prohibits any off-label pesticide use on marijuana and maintains a list of products that can be legally applied to marijuana on its website.
Marijuana businesses should take all measures necessary to prevent contaminated product from reaching consumers. DEH will continue to follow up on complaints and referrals, investigating marijuana businesses and products when necessary to determine if these products are potentially contaminated with unapproved pesticide residues that present a public health risk. Each investigation is conducted on a case-by-case basis and processes are subject to change based on information collected.
Generally, plants and/or products found to pose a risk to consumer health and safety will be placed on hold and the appropriate state agencies will be notified. Depending on the information collected, affected plants and/or products may remain on hold, or be recalled, voluntarily destroyed or ordered condemned. Laboratory testing will no longer be used for monitoring degradation of contaminants or for purposes of releasing batches of product that were made from contaminated plant material.
DEH is committed to an equitable approach that prioritizes the health and safety of the public and strengthens regulated industries through compliance. Questions and comments may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the last year DEH has placed potentially harmful marijuana on administrative hold, allowing the industry time to come into compliance. Throughout that time DEH has worked with stakeholders, including those in the marijuana industry and in other regulatory agencies, to develop a better understanding of public health issues associated with pesticide residues on marijuana.
In part as a result of this work, guidance relating to pesticide contamination was disseminated in city bulletins in March and September, provided at an industry educational session, and posted at Denvergov.org/FoodSafety.