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Failed Pesticide Test Leads to Oregon’s First Recreational Cannabis Recall

The recall is a clear example of how legal weed regulations help cannabis consumers.

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Oregon’s recreational cannabis industry had its first recall this week when a batch of bud being sold at Mapleton, OR retailer Buds 4 U tested positive for high levels of pesticides and was removed from dispensary shelves.  

According to the Portland Tribune, it was Buds 4 U that contacted the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) after the pot shop tested a delivery of the strain Blue Magoo and found high pyrethin levels. Pyrethins are deadly to insects, but can also be found naturally in plants like chrysanthemum flowers and used, in some cases, on organic plants. The levels exceeded the state’s legal limit, prompting the dispensary to call in the OLCC.

"The retailer was great," Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC, said. "They get the gold star."

The bud was grown by licensed recreational cannabis cultivators Emerald Wave Estate based out of  Creswell, Oregon. Buds 4 U had sold 82.5 grams of the tainted bud in the two days before test results came back. The OLCC recommends that anyone who purchased nugs from that particular batch should dispose of them or return them to Buds 4 U.

The pesticide levels were supposed to be caught on the growers end, but a break in protocol occurred when Cascade Cannabis Distribution, a wholesaler out of Eugene, shipped the batch to the Mapleton retailer before the pesticide test results were punched into the Oregon cannabis tracking system. Oregon keeps a state registry of potency, water content, and pesticide residues for all cannabis sold in the state’s recreational dispensaries.

The Blue Magoo recall, while unfortunate for those involved, marks an important landmark for Oregon’s recreational cannabis market, and represents a significant move towards industry legitimacy.

Regulated markets of all kinds have recalls all the time. Whether it’s a black eye for Blue Bunny ice cream or Samsung cell phones, recalls happen to legitimate businesses. Without structured regulations in place, consumers would never know if their buds had excess pesticide levels. So while it may be a hard situation for Emerald Wave Estate - no one stopped buying cell phones after Samsung’s phones blew up, they simply made more informed consumer decisions. 

So while this particular nine-pound batch of Blue Magoo has been put on administrative hold by state authorities, Oregon’s first cannabis recall proves that cannabis can be regulated just like any other mainstream product, and that cannabis users should be protected as much as consumers of ice cream and cell phones.