Michigan recalls marijuana contaminated by dangerous fungicide

EVANSVILLE, Ind., Jan. 13 (UPI) — Michigan has recalled a batch of marijuana contaminated by a toxic chemical that was sold multiple dispensaries.

The recalled marijuana had dangerous levels of paclobutrazol, a fungicide that is “harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We haven’t had any reports of anyone having symptoms,” said David Harns, a spokesman for the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency. “But we encourage people to report any illnesses.”

The contaminated buds were sold at three dispensaries in Bay City and Detroit between Oct. 14 and Jan. 6, according to the state’s agency.

Friday’s recall is the latest in a series of marijuana recalls in Michigan after a safety compliance lab that tests marijuana for contaminates was accused of falsifying test results.

The state’s regulatory agency suspended Iron Laboratories on Aug. 16 after investigating numerous instances of inaccurate testing and false reporting. The laboratory’s medical license has been reinstated.

“The way our system works, a failed test stops the product from moving along the supply chain,” Harns said. “This failed test was not entered properly, so it was not stopped.”

The state issued multiple recalls in August and the investigation is ongoing, Harns said.

“It’s one of those situations where the further you look down the rabbit trail, the further it goes,” he said.

Marijuana recalls occur regularly in states that have legalized the drug. In November, Colorado officials warned consumers that some retail and medical marijuana might have unsafe levels of mold due to a “technical error” caused several batches to “display an incorrect testing status.”

In December, Ohio officials recalled marijuana from a dispensary that had been mislabeled, and therefore not tested for a variety of contaminants. And on Friday, a dispensary in Denver voluntarily recalled marijuana after the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment discovered it contained “potentially unsafe levels of yeast/mold.”

Several studies have shown that illegal marijuana often is contaminated by microbes, mold, pesticides, heavy metals or other harmful substances.

“One of the big benefits of having state regulation is you know what you’re buying,” Harns said. “It goes through the battery of state tests that are required by law.”

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