Herbal Wellness LLC, a pot cultivation that supplies Lafayette dispensary Herbal Wellness, has recalled several dozen batches of medical and recreational marijuana after state investigators discovered "potentially unsafe levels of microbial contamination," according to the recall notice. State investigators also found several strains of marijuana that didn't receive proper contaminant testing, prompting recalls on those batches, as well.
Testing positive for microbials could mean a range of bacteria or pathogens were present, including those found in mold and mildew; the recall notice did not specify which microbials Herbal Wellness marijuana tested positive for.
Dates for the recalled marijuana flower range from late 2018 to July of this year. The MED and CDPHE recommend disposing of or returning any products with the recalled harvest batch numbers (find a list of the recalled strains and their connected harvest batch numbers in the recall notice here).
"All affected marijuana has a label affixed to the container that, at a minimum, indicates the license number of the medical or retail marijuana business that cultivated the marijuana as well as the Harvest Batch number assigned to the marijuana. Consumers should check the label of their medical marijuana or retail marijuana for the following License Numbers and Harvest Batch Numbers. Any inconsistencies in the Harvest Batch Number formats are a result of the licensee labeling procedures," reads part of the recall.
In a statement sent to Westword, Herbal Wellness owner Eric Ryant says that the company is going to add "new procedures" to the supply chain to ensure product safety.
"Herbal Wellness takes the recall very seriously, and has not experienced any issues like this previously. Two independent audits were conducted by outside companies in the past year, and this issue was missed," Ryant says. "New procedures have been added so that all proper testing is conducted. All product at Herbal Wellness has been tested for pesticides and microbials, and everything has passed. We would like to ensure the public that their safety is our number-one priority."
This is the second recall the MED has issued in 2019, with mold or microbials being the culprit for both. The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment has also issued several mold recalls of its own in the last two years.
However, the amount of recalled marijuana doesn't match with an annual state report released last week, which showed that around 15 percent of flower and trim failed microbial testing in 2018 — up from approximately 10 percent in 2017. If failing samples are caught before batches are stocked in dispensaries, the MED can quarantine or destroy the marijuana.
The DDPHE just released an announcement today, August 19, stating that investigators will conduct random assessments at about 25 recreational dispensaries in coming weeks "to evaluate contaminants in products on store shelves."
"Each sample will be tested for pesticides and total yeast and mold by a state- and ISO-certified marijuana testing facility. Results of their respective testing will be shared with each facility and will also be shared broadly within a write-up of results," the DDPHE's statement reads.