Canada MMJ grower can’t trace pesticide source, offers refund

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OrganiGram, a federally licensed medical marijuana cultivator in Canada that recalled contaminated product last year, said it conducted an “extensive investigation” but was unable to find the source for the tainted cannabis.

The company also said it had reversed an earlier decision and now will refund money to patients who bought the contaminated cannabis.

The total cost of the refund will be about 2.3 million Canadian dollars ($1.7 million), OrganiGram estimated, and will essentially equal the company’s sales for its most recent quarter, the Globe and Mail reported.

OrganiGram announced its voluntary recall in December because the cannabis in question had been contaminated with a prohibited pesticide, myclobutanil. Myclobutanil produces hydrogen cyanide when burned in products like cannabis and tobacco.

OrganiGram maintains it didn’t knowingly use myclobutanil, which fights mildew. The company surmises the pesticide may have ended up in its cannabis through contaminated peat moss – which it used only in 2016 – or fertilizer or soil, the Globe and Mail reported.

In hopes of preventing a repeat of the incident, the company said it has:

  • Begun testing every product lot for pesticides before the marijuana can be sold.
  • Installed closed-circuit cameras in parts of the facility that previously didn’t have them.
  • Tightened its vetting of supplies – such as seeds, growing medium, fertilizers and water – from outside companies.

Meanwhile, Halifax-based law firm Wagners says it is preparing to move ahead with a class-action lawsuit against OrganiGram and Canopy Growth. The firm said it could file suit as early as this week on behalf of “over 100” patients, radio station News 95.7 reported.

Canopy Growth owns Mettrum, which recalled cannabis products in 2016 because they also were tainted with myclobutanil.