Second voluntary cannabis product recall issued in California

Just days after the first marijuana product recall was issued in California’s new regulated market, a second was underway.

David Elias, CEO of Los Angeles-based Lowell Herb Co., confirmed to Marijuana Business Daily that his pre-roll-production business had issued a voluntary recall beginning July 27 after a testing lab reversed its initial finding that a specific batch passed muster and was cleared for retail sale.

“We are in the process of a voluntary recall,” Elias said Monday, adding that the company has already contacted 74 retailers that had the affected pre-rolls on shelves.

The recall involved two stock-keeping units (SKUs) and is “an expensive hit we will be taking,” he said, because the company has decided to destroy all the recalled pre-rolls instead of trying to remediate the product and get it back to market.

Lowell Herb has been voluntarily testing its flower for the past 18 months, Elias said, and always gets flower tested before pre-roll production to ensure it will get all the way through the supply chain to retailers.

In this particular case, he said, the flower in question was approved by SC Labs in Santa Cruz, manufactured into pre-rolls and sent to a distributor.

The distributor then had the pre-rolls tested by San Francisco-based Anresco Laboratories, which initially gave the batch a green light, so the product was sent to retailers. Two weeks later, however, Anresco changed the batch’s status to “fail,” Elias said.

Lowell Herb then had the same batch tested by a third lab, Long Beach-based BelCosta Labs, which also determined the pre-rolls passed state testing standards.

But out of an abundance of caution, Elias said, Lowell Herb decided to issue the recall.

“We will make sure our customers can trust us and the actions we will take,” Elias said.

Inconsistent test results between labs is far from a new issue in the U.S. marijuana industry, which has been grappling with testing discrepancies nationwide for years.

Elias said he wouldn’t be surprised if many more companies are faced with similar predicaments in coming months, since mandatory testing in California only kicked in July 1.

“We go above and beyond, and now … depending on the lab you test with, you can have massively divergent results,” Elias said.

“This does present really big challenges to the industry as a whole, with different labs presenting different results.

“I’m not sure how the state is planning on dealing with this.”

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

17 comments on “Second voluntary cannabis product recall issued in California
  1. George Bianchini on

    I posted this on the first recall notice. This problem, wholly caused by the BCC regulations will end up doing what cannabis never has: KILL PEOPLE!!!!!

    George Bianchini on July 26th, 2018 – 2:25pm

    “It’s not clear how the contaminated product made it all the way to retail shelves.”

    It’s very clear to me. The system was created by very smart people (BCC) that know nothing about cannabis, it’s growing, testing or any other part of our industry. The new testing requirements will produce different results at every lab you go to. All of the labs we use are hard working folks being forced to use standards not designed for a plant. Why do we need testing 20 to 100 times more sensitive than required for peanuts or cantaloupes and spinach that kill many people every year?
    The BCC has way over regulated the cannabis industry to the point that many are going to the other side. I refuse to call it the black market anymore as now it’s the smarter way to go.
    The BCC has severely violated the prime directive called for in code 26013 and 26014

    Section 26013(c) proffers a definition what “reasonable” means in the context of the State’s cannabis laws. That section reads:
    “Regulations issued under this division shall be necessary to achieve the purposes of this division, based on best available evidence, and shall mandate only commercially feasible procedures, technology, or other requirements, and shall not unreasonably restrain or inhibit the development of alternative procedures or technology to achieve the same substantive requirements, nor shall such regulations make compliance so onerous that the operation under a cannabis license is not worthy of being carried out in practice by a reasonably prudent businessperson.” [Emphasis added.]

    This is the key:
    “nor shall such regulations make compliance so onerous that the operation under a cannabis license is not worthy of being carried out in practice by a reasonably prudent businessperson”

    The BCC needs to be fired and replaced with other smart people that know Cannabis.
    add this morning: And ban all alcohol and tobacco industry people from the BCC board. The Cannabis industry and poison producers shouldn’t be mixed.

    Reply
    • George Bianchini on

      A reply to my post:

      The tester on July 26th, 2018 – 6:03pm

      Mr. Bianchini,
      CA testing regulations are very reasonable they come from the cannabis pharmacopeia guideline. Try to grow tomatoes or peppers or any other item you you buy at the grocery store and you will have to deal with the FDA regulations. The cannabis growers had a free ride for several years now it’s time to keep their customer safe rather than their pockets. If you can’t handle the heat in the kitchen get out! Or go to the other side we’re you will end in jail.
      Reply

      George Bianchini on July 27th, 2018 – 11:37am

      Thanks for replying Mr. The tester. I normally don’t reply to people who hide behind fake names. We are a FDA, NSF and GMP licensed Pharmaceutical company with worldwide patents and products in clinical trials. The new testing requirements under the 45 day comment periods go way way beyond any plant or food guidelines. On top of that the FDA has nothing to do with the BCC guidelines yet. The tomatoes or peppers you refer to have far less strict guidelines than cannabis. Most produce is allowed to use OMRI organic approved products for cultivation. The BCC has just added some of them as restricted. The detectable levels (LOD) now tested for are so low that if someone sprayed one of these products on their organic veggie garden next door or downwind from a cannabis grow, it could fail the pesticide test. This same product has claims of safe for consuming the same day as use, yet if 0.005 parts per million are detected on cannabis it will fail. Other than those who are trying to consume the cannabis industry, who is the BCC protecting? Even the FDA lets grocery stores sell products that kill many people every year, yet we need to protect cannabis consumers from what? High death count? Even after all these years of black market contaminated weed, it still can’t and hasn’t killed large numbers of people, or even one. The only danger that cannabis brings to the equation is law enforcement and bad policy. How many criminals do you think would sell weed if it came with a 5% profit like most commodities? Reasonable rules combined with free enterprise will make the black market seek more fertile grounds. The BCC regulations will do the opposite. I have never witnessed in all my 62 years a state program that benefited the dark side as has the BCC.
      Please don’t worry about the heat in my kitchen or me going to jail. We have multiple California cannabis licenses and will comply with the rules. This does not mean I won’t speak my mind about what we feel is wrong.
      As far as the other side going to jail: the entire industry was on the illegal side for 70 years. It was a successful way of jailing young black and brown kids. The BCC regs will continue this policy.
      Our company does not work with THC, we are spending a tremendous amount of effort and resources on the other 100 or so cannabinoids. We are searching and have found through science real medicines and we have only scratched the surface of this incredible plants ability. We were ready to roll out a medicine with high levels of THCV, THCVA, CBDV, CBDVA, CGBV and CBGVA All Varins, all in one strain that can be grown as industrial Hemp. This is Diabetes and cancer/tumor beneficial medicine developed after ten years of breading. These cannabinoids are not available at dispensaries now. Thanks to the BCC’s new convenient moves against hemp, our product is outlawed from dispensaries and even CBD from Hemp has been prohibited. This is why I speak out, I seek to bring these illegal and immoral activities to the forefront as most consumers think that Cannabis was made legal in California. Prop 64 did make cannabis legal, The BCC is reversing that law with onerous and unnecessary regulations in direct violation of code 26013-14.

      Reply
      • George Bianchini on

        I then updated this:
        George Bianchini on July 28th, 2018 – 12:46pm

        Update:
        Myclobutanil 88671-89-0 0.2 Is listed on your so called cannabis pharmacopeia guideline as an allowable product. Aphl.org (see link)allows for 0.2 ppm while the BCC currently allows a full 9 ppm. I challenge any of the BCC staff to consume a joint with 9 ppm of this poison. That would be one sure fire way to get a new board. Why you may ask? Myclobutanil converts into Hydrogen Cyanide (a Schedule 3 substance under the Chemical Weapons Convention) when heat is applied.
        https://www.aphl.org/aboutAPHL/publications/Documents/EH-Guide-State-Med-Cannabis-052016.pdf
        your so called cannabis pharmacopeia guideline also allows TCE (Trichloroethylene) to be used at 2 ppm.
        It was noted in the 1940s that TCE reacted with carbon dioxide to produce phosgene gas, It gained infamy as a chemical weapon during World War I where it was responsible for about 85% of the 100,000 deaths caused by chemical weapons. These types of weapons employed ranged from disabling chemicals, such as tear gas, to lethal agents like phosgene, chlorine, and mustard gas. This chemical warfare was a major component of the first global war and first total war of the 20th century.
        This is why we need industry professionals on the board not state selected board members that will approve deadly products that come with a good sales pitch or donation of some sort.
        It seems that the entire 268 pages of BCC rules and regulations were made by maybe nice, well intentioned people that know nothing about what they are talking about.

        Reply
        • Mitchell Colbert on

          Having worked at a major California dispensary for over half a decade, I am well familiar with the link between myclobutanil and hydrogen cyanide. As an investigative journalist, I always seek to find the most believable sources, which in terms of research are usually .gov websites. Recently, Health Canada released guidance on myclobutanil in cannabis, effectively calling it a non-issue.

          I just looked at the APHL document you linked to, and while it says myclobutanil should be capped at 0.2 ppm, it gives no reason as to why.

          I would love to cite that APHL document as a source, but I can’t if it doesn’t actually provide anything to counterbalance the points made by Health Canada, who I believe significantly more than the US Government on this issue.

          I’d love your thoughts on Health Canada downplaying these risks.

          https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2017/03/clarification_fromhealthcanadaonmyclobutanilandcannabis.html

          Reply
      • E Gordon on

        Right On George I completely agree. As an edibles manufacturer in Colorado since 2009 I am all for regulation in a responsible manner. We have been so over-regulated by no knowledge of cannabis what-so-ever people it isn’t even funny. There are many hard work people that absolutely can never get ahead because of over-regulations. Labs, 100% can test the same product over and over and repeatedly get a different result. I love my lab guys but they truly are not able to really understand all the nuisances about food product testing especially containing cannabis. The state and municipalities should be involving more people in the trenches to be on more of the state rule-making boards. I’m sick and tired of the constant scrutiny with how deep the pesticide levels go when they won’t even disclose what is in your everyday food source. Also, the over-kill on labeling and packaging. We have to keep up the fight, educate the masses and the damn government!

        Reply
  2. Deborah on

    George B, always keeping it ?, Mr. Tester obviously has a stake in the game of failing perfectly good cannabis. At this point, it’s labs and politicians making money in Cannabis. Much love George.

    Deborah

    Reply
  3. Arnaud Dumas de Rauly on

    This is all about testing protocols. Until we have industry-standard testing protocols, this will always happen. As it stands, you can get the same batch tested by 5 different labs and get 5 different results. This situation isn’t sustainable for our industry. In order to avoid what has happened to the nicotine vaping industry, we need to get our ducks in a row.

    Also, standard protocols are THE best way to get ahead of the curve when it comes to federal legalization.

    As Chair of the ISO Standards Committee on Vapor Products, I am more than willing to discuss this protocol issue with everyone and it has become a big part of our entire education program.

    In any case, kudos to David Elias and his company for doing this, I wish there were more people out there like him!

    Reply
  4. Sheryl on

    I always figured this would be the end result once the politicians got involved. Forty-eight years ago no one was testing anything. I never met or knew of anyone who got sick or died from cannabis?. Only government involvement could get things this screwed up. They want to make the $$$$, but they can’t get out of their own way. And now if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for “certified” (ha ha) cannabis you’re only allowed to grow it inside. Who can afford that set up???? Welcome to the late great state of California folks!!

    Reply
  5. Aaron Wahl on

    The State should draw packaging parameters for recreational & medical users separately. There is a likelihood that complicated process may result in short supply of medical marijuana products. To many, these may be life-saving and regular supplies at normal rates and sufficient quantity in the dispensaries is essential. Needless to say, several thousands of patients rely upon medical marijuana and get 420 evaluations from highly reputed and licensed clinics. However, norms relating to pesticides & other chemicals should not be relaxed under any circumstances.

    Reply
    • James on

      Your frustration is due to the assumption that regulators are trying to keep the public safe from tainted products. In fact, they are quashing the industry so the only people who can survive it are the huge corporations. It is a kind of revenge against an industry that operated above the law and below the radar for years and now has been flushed out of the brush. Instead of incarceration they now changed tactics to over regulate and frustrate operators out of existence.

      Reply

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