Oregon Health Authority Issues Press Release for Tainted Cannabis in McMinnville, OR
Author – Max Richardson-Davis
Edited by Noah Persin & Jon Russell
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released a press release on Oct. 21, 2016, issuing a warning for tainted cannabis flower in the McMinnville, Oregon area.
OHA estimates 130 customers purchased either Marion Berry (batch number G6J0051-01) and/or Dr. Jack (batch number G6J0051-02) at New Leaf Cannacenter Marijuana Store, a medical marijuana dispensary, located: 3325 NE Riverside Drive in McMinnville.
The contaminated products were sold from Oct. 17, 2016 through Oct. 19, 2016.
Both batches failed pesticide testing for spinosad. According to the OHA press release, “The OHA ‘action level’ for spinosad is .2 parts per million (ppm). The batches of Dr. Jack and Marion Berry contained 42 and 22 ppm, respectively.”
According to the Oregon State University National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), “spinosad is a natural substance made by a soil bacterium that can be toxic to insects. It is used to control such pests as thrips, leaf miners, spider mites, mosquitoes, ants and fruit flies. NPIC also notes that spinosad is low in toxicity to people and other mammals, but it can cause irritation and redness if it gets on your skin or in your eyes. The effects of smoking a product contaminated with spinosad are unknown.”
Image Courtesy: NPIC
David Farrer, Ph.D., a public health toxicologist with OHA, commented in the press release, “There is no level of spinosad that has been shown to be safe in cannabis that is smoked. Our action levels serve as a pre-market screen, but should not be considered ‘safe levels.’”
The OHA asks that those consumers who are concerned about exposure to spinosad, or those who are experiencing any health problems after using the affected cannabis strains, should contact the Oregon Poison Center immediately at 800-222-1222.
The affected strains come from just one grower, local to the McMinnville market. The OHA refuses to name the grower of the affected cannabis strains as the information is considered confidential by Oregon state law.
According to the OHA, the affected strains were only sold to New Leaf Cannacenter. Other strains from New Leaf, or strains with similar names being sold at other dispensaries, are not considered dangerous.
All tainted cannabis was promptly removed from the premises of the dispensary.
The strains were tested at an accredited and licensed laboratory near the area and came back with a negative (negative means “does not pass”) test result, disallowing the product to be sold at any medicinal or recreational cannabis facility due to its high levels of spinosad.
To clarify regulation, the OHA stated the rules for testing cannabis viable to be sold to the public in the press release: “If a marijuana item fails a pesticide test and a re-test, the batch from which samples were taken must be destroyed. More information about cannabis testing can be found on the OHA website.”
Greg Bogh, owner of New Leaf dispensary, has since issued a public statement regarding the issue. In it, Bogh says, “As soon as we learned about the problem, we immediately removed all of the remaining product from our inventory and cooperated fully with the OHA to remedy the situation. We look forward to continuing to work with the OHA to determine how the product reached New Leaf in the first place, since it had failed the mandatory testing undertaken by the grower. On behalf of New Leaf and my family, I want to apologize to our loyal customers and assure them, as well as the general public, that their health and safety has always been and will always be New Leaf’s top priority.”
Currently, the OHA is investigating how and why the cannabis was transferred to a dispensary with failed test results.