Cannabis under grow lights.  Image: Dan Swaney/Potcha
Cannabis under grow lights. Image: Dan Swaney/Potcha

Marijuana Pesticide Contamination Protest

DENVER, CO. 1 June, 2015 –Clients at LivWell on Broadway were greeted by a small but animated group of protestors waving placards that demanded “Weed not Greed!” on Saturday afternoon. LivWell, considered a price performer in the Denver market, was targeted by the Cannabis Consumer Coalition (CCC) because of concerns over plants treated with Eagle 20, a petroleum-based fungicide identified as a possible carcinogen. “We’re concerned about cumulative effects it can have on the body,” said CCC director Larisa Bolivar, noting that Eagle 20 is not even approved for tobacco farming.

In April, the group released the names of businesses targeted by City of Denver officials in a crackdown on grow operations allegedly using Eagle 20 because of concerns that the toxin may be inhaled during the use of cannabis. Companies reported to have had plants placed on hold over alleged use of pesticides including Mallet, Avid, and Eagle 20 include:

Altitude East
Evolutionary Holdings
Green Cross Colorado
The Green Solution
MiNDFUL (formerly Gaia)
MMJ America
One Grow
Organic Greens
RINO Supply Company
Sweet Leaf

According to Denver Citywide Communications Adviser Daniel Rowland, all growers have complied with the city during its investigations, but plants placed on hold cannot be sold until cleared by the city. One Grow and RINO Supply voluntarily destroyed 1,500 quarantined plants, according to city records.

60,000 of LivWell’s plants were placed on hold, and after preliminary testing, Denver approved a portion for consumption, but a large proportion remain quarantined. LivWell owner John Lord came out swinging shortly after the quarantine was imposed. “We do not use any banned pesticide in our grow,” owner John Lord said in a 9 Wants to Know interview: “We take this very, very seriously. We take public health very, very seriously. We do not feel there is a concern.”

Lord has said his company is working closely with Denver officials to clarify which pesticides can be used on cannabis grown in the city. Discussing Saturday’s protest, Lord has disputed CCC claims that LivWell places profit ahead of consumer safety, stating that the group did not reach out to his company ahead of the protest. Lord has also denied accusations that LivWell, which operates thirteen dispensaries across the state, is lobbying to have harmful pesticides approved for use in grow operations.

LivWell’s strong market presence is the reason for choosing the venue of this weekend’s protest, according to Larisa Bolivar. Her group plans to spread the wealth by staging protests at other dispensaries with plants on hold in the coming weeks.



Denver Marijuana Industry Bulletin: Use of Pesticides

Colorado Retail Marijuana Code (30 May, 2015)

About Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor is a staff writer for Potcha who left the advertising industry fifteen years ago to live off the grid. A medical cannabis patient, he enjoys tinkering with grow techniques that enhance the strains he finds most effective in treating his condition.

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