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Medical Marijuana From The Hemp Center Recalled for Pesticides

Several strains from The Hemp Center tested positive for Avermectin, Bifenazate, Imidacloprid and Myclobutanil.
Several strains from The Hemp Center tested positive for Avermectin, Bifenazate, Imidacloprid and Myclobutanil. Denver Department of Environmental Health
Another Denver-area dispensary has recalled its products because of potentially unsafe pesticide use. Kirke LLC/Metro Denver Telluride Health Center LLC, known to its customers as The Hemp Center, has voluntarily issued a recall on all medical marijuana sold with Optional Premises Cultivation codes of 403-00892 and 403-00899, according to the Denver Department of Environmental Health. The pesticide chemicals responsible for the recall are Avermectin, Bifenazate, Imidacloprid and Myclobutanil, all of which are banned by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

The Hemp Center cultivation destroyed approximately 1,279 plants and nearly 71 pounds of dried flower on August 9, according to DEH documents that Westword obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request. Owner Melissa Van Diest says destroying the plants was a better option than waiting for quarantined plants to undergo further testing. "I got rid of some of the employees who did this. They're gone. I am pissed, to say the least," she says. "The safety of my patients is everything; hence, why I decided to get rid of everything." The Hemp Center has two medical-only dispensaries, one in Littleton and the other in Colorado Springs.

According to Van Diest, the banned pesticides were applied without her consent or knowledge. A DEH document reporting on a July 28 visit by investigators says the cultivation's manager told DEH agents that a grower who'd applied banned pesticides had been let go.

click to enlarge Gobi Labs testing results of dried flower from The Hemp Center show potentially dangerously high levels of banned pesticies. - DENVER DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gobi Labs testing results of dried flower from The Hemp Center show potentially dangerously high levels of banned pesticies.
Denver Department of Environmental Health
Dried flower cannot contain more than 0.005 parts per million of the banned pesticides that were used by The Hemp Center. Lab results from Gobi Labs, the state-approved cannabis-testing lab that analyzed the dispensary's dried flower, show that in some samples, Bifenazate, Imidacloprid and Myclobutanil levels were around 650 times that of the state-approved limit.

The DEH's investigation and the subsequent destruction of The Hemp Center's plants and flower were put in motion after the Colorado Department of Agriculture put a hold on the plants. "Their whole process is discombobulated. The procedures of the CDA are a mess," Van Diest says. "They take batches that are three weeks apart and combine them – different strains, different harvests, from different parts of the room. It was just easier for me to get rid of them."

The CDA did not respond to a request for comment.

There haven't been any reports of illness from Hemp Center products, according to the DEH. "The possible health impact of consuming marijuana products with unapproved pesticide residues is unknown. Short- and long-term health impacts may exist depending on the specific product, duration, frequency, level of exposure and route of exposure," the recall reads.

In the recall notice, the DEH urges consumers to dispose of the recalled products or return them to the store from which they were purchased; anyone who thinks they might have been affected by these products should call either Hemp Center location or email [email protected]
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell