About 80 percent of cannabis randomly tested by the Denver, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment failed tests for potential yeast and mold, according to a Westword report. The agency has not yet made the results of the tests public but Westword was able to review reports from the action filed between September 9 and September 11.
City officials announced the assessment in August, explaining that it would conduct the tests in about 25 retail dispensaries and the participants and samples would be randomly selected.
“Each sample will be tested for pesticides and total yeast and mold by a state- and ISO-certified marijuana testing facility,” the agency said in the announcement.
Of the 25 reports filed over the two days, 20 products tested resulted in at least one or more hold and quarantine orders for flower, shake or pre-rolls, an 80 percent failure rate. Each of those holds is tied to plant matter testing above the maximum counts for total yeast and mold, the report says.
Some of the products tested may not have been from the random sample, though, according to DDPHE food and marijuana safety manager Abby Davidson who told Westword some could be from “routine inspections” and that the agency doesn’t “typically” conduct 25 investigations a week.
“All of our enforcement in our work from the beginning of workings with marijuana facilities is public. So maybe some [reports connected to the assessment] went out before, maybe some went out after.” – Davidson, to Westword
One dispensary owner who failed the assessment blamed the result on the state’s tracking system, METRC, which, the owner claims, allowed them to buy the flower which should have been flagged by the tracking software if it failed laboratory testing.
“If we had any inclination that the product would not have passed testing, we would have not received or purchased the product wholesale,” the dispensary owner told Westword. “We are debating whether or not to take legal action against the vendor for this inconvenience and loss of business that we have experienced.”
Davidson admitted that dispensaries might not have had any hand at contaminating the products that failed the assessment.
“Or it could be that there were processes that happened after cultivation that maybe would’ve led to contamination,” Davidson said in the report. “It’s really hard to point any fingers until we’re able to do our investigation and backtrack to how that product got to that dispensary.”
An industry CEO said the agency tests are “based on questionable scientific principles.”