Cannabis Consumers Coalition Obtains Names of Denver Marijuana Pesticides Violators and Issues Consumer Safety Alert Ahead of Hearing on Testing Bill

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The Cannabis Consumers Coalition has obtained the names of the cannabis businesses in Denver, CO that had their plants quarantined as a result of pesticide misuse, including the names of the harmful pesticides that were used, and has issued a consumer safety alert demanding stricter oversight of testing and pesticide use.

This is at best gross negligence on behalf of the offending businesses that shows more concern for money that for safety. How many other violators are out there that haven’t gotten caught?

The Cannabis Consumers Coalition, a Denver-based cannabis consumers advocacy organization with national and international members, has issued a consumer safety alert after obtaining the names of the businesses who had their plants quarantined for pesticide misuse, along with the names of the pesticides in question. The Cannabis Consumers Coalition had sent out Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests to the Denver Department of Environmental Health and the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture did not release the names of the violators citing that they were not allowed to give out identifying information on open cases, however, Denver Department of Environmental Health, operating on different policies, released the records.

“This is dangerous to public safety. We need better testing policies that put consumer safety first. Retail cannabis is supposed to be tested for harmful pesticides, and there already exists a list of acceptable pesticides. This is at best gross negligence on behalf of the offending businesses that shows more concern for money than for safety. How many other violators are out there that haven’t gotten caught?” asks the Cannabis Consumers Coalition’s Executive Director, Larisa Bolivar.

Current laws only allow for licensed recreational manufacturers and distributors access to testing facilities, and there are no penalties outside of quarantines and the destruction of plants to hold violators accountable, which is the equivalent to a "time out." Colorado SB15-260 sponsored by State Senator Aguilar (D-Denver), Senator Kerr (D-Lakewood), and House Representative Ginal (D-Fort Collins), will allow medical marijuana licensees to test; however, it also does not allow individuals to have their cannabis tested. The fear behind this is that black market operators will bring their cannabis to be tested, however, that is unlikely because illegal operators are not going to risk getting caught by handing out their IDs and putting their information on applications.

The Cannabis Consumers Coalition and its members would like to see more accountability added to these bills. A cease and desist order does not go far enough when protecting public safety. There needs to be penalties for violators, such as fines for first and second violations, and then license revocation for third violations. There also needs to be a more consistent and expedited process for violations so that cannabis consumers can confidently know in a timely manner that the cannabis they are consuming is safe. Finally, it is only fair that cannabis consumers be allowed to have their cannabis products tested at independent facilities. Cannabis consumers are not being considered in these laws that are heavily biased towards industry needs. Public safety in all manners should be always be the first consideration, and cannabis consumers deserve to be empowered in their decision making and know that state officials have their backs when it comes to product safety.

For more information, please contact Larisa Bolivar at 703-244-4857. For more information on the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, visit http://www.cannabisconsumer.org.

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Larisa Bolivar
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