California recalls 5 West Coast Cure marijuana products, cites pesticides

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Image of cannabis vape cartridge

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California regulators on Tuesday announced five more marijuana product recalls related to banned pesticides in a scandal that has rocked the market for the past month.

According to the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), the recalled products were all vape oil cartridges and pens produced by West Coast Cure (WCC), one of the state’s top-selling brands with distribution in hundreds of stores.

“Today’s recall is part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to remove products from the marketplace that contain pesticides,” DCC spokesperson David Hafner confirmed to MJBizDaily via email.

Chlorfenapyr spurred recall

The following WCC products were recalled:

  • Birthday Cake, 1-gram Curepen.
  • Lemon Cooler, 1-gram Curepen.
  • Lucky Charmz, 1-gram Curepen.
  • Slymer, 1-gram Live Resin Cartridge.
  • Watermelon Sorbet, 1-gram Curepen.

Hafner said the products all contained chlorfenapyr, a banned greenhouse pesticide typically sprayed directly on leaves to combat caterpillars, fungus gnats, mites and other pests.

Four of the five products also were highlighted for containing banned pesticides in a June report by the Los Angeles Times and WeedWeek that detailed the presence of pesticides across a spectrum of products for sale in the world’s largest regulated cannabis market.

The resulting fallout has cast a shadow over testing labs, their procedures and test validity while pitting retailers against brands as regulators try to identify the source of contamination – a difficult task considering the many points of contact for any given product.

Meanwhile, the controversy has left cannabis brands, retailers and testing labs scrambling to regain the confidence of consumers

WCC responds

In a Tuesday news release, WCC reiterated its dedication to testing and quality-control standards, adding that it invested nearly $1 million in testing last year.

The brand said every WCC product on retail shelves passed compliance testing by state-licensed laboratories.

The company also said it initiates quality-control testing with labs before production and packaging.

“At the end of the day, West Coast Cure is not a testing laboratory, nor are we permitted to be one by California regulations,” the release noted.

Meanwhile, the Orange County-based company criticized regulators and the perceived lack of standardized testing procedures.

“The State has established proficiency testing standards that do not mirror the standards that are established for compliance tests,” WCC said.

Anresco Laboratories and Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs last week filed a lawsuit against 13 testing labs, according to the Times, claiming they inflated potency or disregarded the presence of certain contaminants in certificates of analysis (COAs).

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Regulators increase enforcement

The DCC on June 25 issued a mandatory recall for a 1-gram Curepen vape cartridge from West Coast Cure.

The cannabis regulatory agency has been ramping up enforcement and product recalls this year.

The agency already has issued 28 product recalls in 2024, widely surpassing the three recalls per year issued in 2023 and 2022.

The DCC told MJBizDaily it now has the capability to test concentrates for pesticides through state labs.

The agency “is quickly utilizing this new capability as evidenced by the five recalls today and the recall last week,” Hafner said.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at chris.casacchia@mjbizdaily.com.