Investigation Reveals Widespread Pesticide Contamination in California’s Legal Cannabis Market

An independent investigation has revealed widespread pesticide contamination in California’s legal cannabis products, raising serious concerns for consumers and industry participants.

Full story after the jump.

California’s cannabis industry is under intense scrutiny following an investigation revealing significant pesticide contamination in products sold at dispensaries statewide. An LA Times and WeedWeek investigation published last week found high levels of pesticides in various cannabis products, including some popular brands of vapes and pre-rolled joints.

The investigation tested 42 legal cannabis products from retail stores, revealing that 25 contained pesticide levels exceeding state or federal safety thresholds for tobacco. These pesticides include chemicals linked to cancer, liver failure, thyroid disease, and other serious health issues.

Notably, vapes from several well-known brands exceeded federal EPA risk thresholds for harm from a single exposure, posing immediate risks such as lung and throat irritation, headaches, and abdominal pain. Some products contained as many as two dozen pesticides, raising long-term health concerns due to repeated use.

Brands referenced by the investigation include:

  • Stiiizy
  • West Coast Cure
  • Flavorade
  • Phat Panda
  • Phire
  • Dime
  • Backpack Boyz
  • Grizzly Peak Farms
  • Cru Mai Tai
  • Fog City Farms
  • David Shin’s Van Nuys manufacturer
  • Maven Industries

The contamination findings echo numerous complaints filed by two private cannabis testing labs over the past eight months, suggesting widespread contamination in over 250,000 vapes and pre-rolled joints.

So, why are brands cutting corners? The push for profits in the expanding legal market has led to intensive growing practices that necessitate the use of pesticides to protect crops from infestations. The popularity of vapes has further exacerbated the issue, with bulk oils often made from lower-quality cannabis, which in some cases is grown illegally and sold into the legal market. With additional financial difficulties that come with operating in a market that is forbidden from taking tax cuts, brands may also be choosing to protect their investment over the consumers.

California regulators have largely failed to address this contamination. The state’s cannabis testing requirements have not been updated to account for new and potentially dangerous chemicals used in cultivation. Despite receiving at least 85 contamination complaints since last fall, the Department of Cannabis Control has taken minimal action. The agency recently warned of upcoming product embargoes, recalls, and disciplinary actions, but the delay in responding to these issues has already compromised consumer safety.

Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe

Have an additional perspective to share? Send us a message to let us know, and if your comment is chosen by our editors it could be featured here.


Ganjapreneur is made possible by our partners:

Latest Cannabis News

View all news Get email updates

Featured Business Profiles

Create a profile View all categories

From Our Partners