Dangerous Levels of Pesticide Found in California Weed

Stephen Andrews
04 Jul 2024

Marijuana is legal in California, but that doesn’t mean all products are safe for consumption. At least that’s what a joint investigation by the Los Angeles Times and industry newsletter WeedWeek has found out, after checking dozens of California weed products. More than half of the products contained dangerous levels of pesticide presence, the investigation showed.

The legal cannabis industry in California, worth approximately $3.5 billion dollars, has been marred with scandals in recent years. 

In the latest, an investigation led by the Los Angeles Times and WeedWeek confirms what many have feared. A significant number of cannabis products available in California dispensaries are contaminated with harmful toxins. 

Tests on 42 weed products reportedly found 25 contained pesticides levels above acceptable legal limits. Contaminants included various chemicals that can cause cancer, liver disease, and neurological damage, according to the investigation. Contaminated products included vapes, which are extremely popular among younger cannabis users. 

Around 5 million people use cannabis monthly in California. Contaminated weed may lead to serious health complications, especially among medical users as well as healthy individuals. 

California regulators have been generally slow to respond to contamination claims, even though complaints have been made numerous times before. 

California Cannabis Vape Recall Issued Following Investigation

In the meantime, California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has issued a mandatory recall for West Coast Cure’s “Orange Cookies” products packaged on or after Sep. 26, 2023. 

The recall affects the CUREpen PREMIUM THC OIL Vape Cartridge where a pesticide known as chlorfenapyr has been found. 

Chlorfenapyr is an insecticide used for non-food crops in indoor settings, registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2001. The DCC listed more than hundred locations in California where the now recalled product was available for purchase. 

The state agency, part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, recommends anyone experiencing any adverse reactions or other symptoms from using the contaminated product to immediately contact a doctor. Those possessing the recalled product are instructed to discard it or return it to the retailer where they made the purchase. 

“West Coast Cure ensures that every product we bring to market has passed testing from state-licensed labs,” a company’s spokesperson told Newsweek. “In the past, we have had batches fail compliance testing. When this occurs, we destroy the entire batch.” 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled a total of 28 products in April 2024 alone. The list includes foods, nutritional supplements, animal feed, and more. 

Some of the common reasons state agencies recall products include allergy contamination, contamination with bacteria or viruses that can cause illness (such as E. coli or Salmonella), the presence of contaminants in the product, and the use of packaging that doesn’t display ingredient list, among others. 

Also read on Soft Secrets: 

California State Fair to Host Cannabis Vendors

New Employment Protections for California Weed Users

- Is California Weed Losing Potency?

Stephen Andrews