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Colorado Issues First Marijuana Recall Over Heavy Metal Contaminants

Marijuana grown by AlpinStash was found to have potentially unsafe levels of mold and arsenic.EXPAND
Marijuana grown by AlpinStash was found to have potentially unsafe levels of mold and arsenic.
Jacqueline Collins

The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division has issued a recall of products from AlpinStash, a wholesale recreational marijuana cultivation in Lafayette. According to the October 8 recall, issued in conjunction with the state Department of Public Health and Environment, marijuana grown by AlpinStash was found to have potentially unsafe levels of mold and arsenic, making it Colorado's first marijuana recall ever issued over heavy metals.

Heavy metals such as arsenic, nickel, copper, mercury and cadmium can be found in growing nutrients and fertilizers used to enhance the flavor, yield and potency of marijuana. According to the National Institutes of Health, long-term exposure to heavy metals can lead to liver or kidney damage, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, heart abnormalities, a disrupted nervous system, anemia and more.

Recalled products should have a cultivation facility license number on their packaging: 403R-00603. Here are the recalled AlpinStash strains and their harvest dates:

Arsenic
Cherry Pie (6-18-20)
Donatello (6-22-20)
Emperor’s Breath (6-22-20)
Orange Chemsicle (6-24-20)
Chemmiwinks (7-3-20)
Tahoe OG (7-3-20)
Skunkberry (7-10-20)
Wife (7-15-20)

Yeast and Mold
Orange Chemsicle (6-24-20)
Cookie Confundo (6-30-20)
Orange Obliviate (7-15-20)

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"Consumers who have these affected products in their possession should return them to the retail store from which they were purchased for proper disposal. If consumers experience adverse health effects from consuming the product, they should seek medical attention immediately and report the event to the store from which they purchased the product," the MED recall reads.

Colorado marijuana wasn't tested for heavy metals until 2020, when state testing laboratories were deemed capable of doing so. Marijuana labs have been testing for mold and yeast for several years now, however, with AlpinStash's mold recall the latest in a long line of safety advisories in the marijuana industry. According to the annual report from the MED, 15 percent of commercial marijuana flower, trim and shake batches failed microbial testing in 2019.

In an email to Westword, AlpinStash says that it has implemented third-party testing of growing mediums and nutrients and will continue following MED guidelines.

"AlpinStash takes contaminant testing very seriously," the AlpinStash statement notes. "We have worked closely with the MED to ensure that we are in compliance with all laws and regulations. We have identified potential sources of contamination and have taken aggressive steps to remediate any problems," the statement reads. "We have implemented a strict quality control program which includes 3rd party testing of all nutrients and soil inputs. We will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the MED and CDPHE to ensure the health and safety of the public."

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