Medical Marijuana Recall Expanded After Banned Pesticide Found

Article by Mike Hagar, The Globe and Mail

Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown at OrganiGram in Moncton, N.B.

Two more licensed medical marijuana producers have voluntarily recalled hundreds of grams of the drug after traces of a controversial pesticide banned in Canada were detected in their supply, raising questions about Ottawa’s oversight of an industry expected to explode with the upcoming legalization of cannabis.

Last week, Organigram, a publicly traded grower based in Moncton, expanded a Dec. 28 recall of a small amount of product to include almost all of its cannabis buds and oils produced in 2016.

On Monday, Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc., a publicly traded firm based in Alberta, announced it had recalled seven lots of cannabis it had bought from Organigram and sold to its clients – through the mail-order system overseen by Health Canada – from August to October of last year.

Health Canada listed both recalls on its online database and confirmed that both cases involved traces of chemicals bifenazate and myclobutanil, which are prohibited for use on legal cannabis in Canada.

Myclobutanil is permitted in small doses on certain crops that are eaten, since the chemical compounds are metabolized by the digestive system and rendered non-toxic. It is also approved for crops that don’t retain high levels of pesticide residue as they grow.

The pesticide is not approved for use on plants that are combusted, such as tobacco or cannabis, and is known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated. Lawmakers in Colorado, Washington and Oregon moved quickly to ban myclobutanil, in some cases enacting emergency legislation when they discovered growers using it.

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