Tag: OLCC

Legalization Works: OLCC Issues Cannabis Product Recall

The cannabis regulators at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) announced a product recall of Winberry Farms Sweet Leaf Blend Pre-rolls following a failed pesticide test. While this announcement may be seized upon by Reefer Madness prohibitionists to scare people about cannabis, the recall actually shows that legalization works and is a much better and safer policy than prohibition. Prohibitionists have been demonizing cannabis since they learned about cannabis, so they aren’t going to stop now. However, forcing people into an illegal, unregulated market makes our communities more dangerous.

Without legalization and regulations, consumers don’t know if their cannabis products are tainted with potentially harmful substances. While cannabis, even when unregulated, has proven to be much safer than more addictive drugs, there are certainly health concerns that need to be addressed, especially for those with compromised immune systems. If you run into anyone that claims that product recalls show that  cannabis is dangerous and that we shouldn’t end prohibition from coast to coast, you can explain to them that such recalls show that legalization is working and that transparency on an open market is much safer than pushing people into an illicit, unregulated market without any testing regulations.

Here’s the full OLCC’s product recall notice:

January 16, 2020

OLCC Issues Marijuana Product Recall

Winberry Farms Sweet Leaf Blend Pre-rolls Failed Pesticide Test

 

Portland, OR — The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is issuing an immediate health and safety advisory due to the identification of potentially unsafe pesticide residue on plant material used in a packaged retail marijuana product.  The product in question was cultivated by licensed marijuana producer Ard Ri and packaged for sale to retailers by licensed wholesaler DYME Distribution.

The affected marijuana flower failed its pesticide test, because it exceeded the acceptable level, known as the “action limit”, for the insecticide Imidacloprid*.  The flower was incorporated into pre-rolled joints marketed under the Winberry Farms Sweet Leaf Blend; the strain name is Trap Star.

Winberry Farms Recall

The impacted product (see above images) has a Unique Identification (UID) number of 1A4010300022859000015892.

The OLCC has locked down the product in the Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) to prevent further distribution or sale to consumers.  The product was sold through nine OLCC licensed marijuana retailers around Oregon.  DYME distributed approximately 700 units of the contaminated pre-rolls; retailers have pulled the remaining 328 packages from their shelves.

The impacted Winberry Farms Sweet Leaf Products were sold from December 17, 2019 through January 8, 2020 at the following licensed retailers:

  • Spark, 5103 NE Fremont Street, Portland
  • Ancient Remedies, 2350 State Street, Salem
  • Puff Oregon, 47700 NW Sunset Highway, Manning
  • Rogue River Herbal PMC, 510 East Main, Suite C, Rogue River
  • The Joint, 3270 Market Street NE, Salem
  • Stoney Only Clackamas, 10289 SE Highway 212, Clackamas
  • Tsunami Marijuana LLC, 36412 Highway 26, Seaside
  • Track Town Collective, 3675 Franklin Blvd., Eugene
  • Green Room, 2521 NW 9th Street, Corvallis

Initial test results for the source marijuana flower produced by Ard Ri was entered into CTS by PREE Laboratories in Corvallis on December 4, 2019; the test results indicated that both test samples failed.  PREE re-analyzed one of the samples, as allowed under marijuana testing rules, on December 11, 2019 and the sample passed.  However marijuana testing rules then require a second lab to re-sample and re-test the original product.  That verification test never took place.

Because of PREE Laboratories’ incorrect entry of test results into CTS the tracking system designated the marijuana flower as having passed its pesticide test.  Subsequently DYME Distribution packaged and distributed the contaminated marijuana as pre-rolled joints.

The OLCC detected the discrepancy January 6, 2020 when conducting a monthly audit on products that have failed pesticide tests at the point of origin – in this case the marijuana flower.  When the OLCC initiates an administrative hold of a product it automatically puts a hold on any product produced from the original flower.

OLCC is investigating both the contamination test failure, and the licensees’ use of CTS.

Consumers who have these recalled products should dispose of the products or return them to the retailer where they were purchased.  Consumers can follow these instructions found on the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program website to destroy marijuana on their own.

There have been no reports of illness. The possible health impact of consuming marijuana products with unapproved pesticide residues is unknown. Short and long-term health impacts may exist depending on the specific product, duration, frequency, level of exposure, and route of exposure. Consumers with concerns about their personal health should contact their physician with related questions. Consumers with questions or concerns about recalled product or pesticide residues in marijuana products are encouraged to contact the product retailer and/or the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture maintains a guide list for Pesticides and Cannabis that be found here.

*The Oregon Health Authority is responsible for establishing pesticide and solvent action levels for marijuana testing.

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Oregon Bans Vitamin E Acetate From Cannabis Vape Cartridges

Last week I wrote a couple of blogs about cannabis vape cartridges, including whether Oregon should follow Michigan’s lead and ban vitamin E acetate from the market after the Center for Disease Control (CDC) named the substance as the most likely culprit behind over 40 deaths and 2,000 illnesses nationwide. On Friday, state regulators announced the ban on the ingredient. OPB reported on the decision by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission:

Based on the CDC’s findings, the OLCC has determined that vitamin E acetate is an “adulterant,” or an ingredient which is “foreign, inferior, poisonous or deleterious.”

This action by the commission supports the public health finding. The ingredient would still be allowed in non-inhaled products such as lotions and edibles.

“We’re making it clear that to protect consumer health we will vigorously scrutinize what goes into marijuana products sold in Oregon’s legal marketplace,” Steve Marks, OLCC executive director, said in a news release. “The commission is taking steps with our regulatory partners to put in place additional consumer safeguards.”

Erin Purchase, Director of Operations of Kind Leaf and a member of Oregon’s new formed Vaping Public Health Workgroup, stated, “I am happy to see that the OLCC has taken the first steps in ensuring consumer safety by banning Vitamin E Acetate. I hope that our state regulators take additional steps by requiring additives to be labeled on the packages. Perhaps with further studies and clarifications the importance of transparent labeling will be revealed.”

Personally, I applaud this decision of the OLCC and am proud of Kind Leaf and other good actors in the Oregon market that have been proactive and are working towards more safety precautions and labeling transparency. The ability to adapt to new information with new industry norms and regulations is just one of the examples why legalization is a much better policy than prohibition. It’s possible that the cannabis industry will need to adapt again as the CDC continues to study the vaping issue to determine if any other factors besides vitamin E acetate are involved, as The Washington Post reports:

Investigators are also trying to find out what other toxins might be flowing into people’s lungs as they vape. Federal health officials have said the outbreak may have more than one cause.

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“We’ll be looking to see if we get anything unusual,” (the CDC’s Jim) Pirkle said. Most of the sick patients vaped multiple products, including those containing THC. “It could be that only one of the products causes disease and the others did not. But we don’t know which one, so we still have to analyze all of them.”

 

Scientists hope to have “a good chunk” of results within about six weeks, he said.

Stay tuned as we keep you posted on the latest science, regulations, and industry decisions impacting consumer safety. Here is the OLCC’s full announcement on the banning of vitamin E acetate from cannabis vape cartridges:

November 22, 2019

OLCC Affirms Authority to Prohibit Marijuana Adulterants

Ban Vitamin E Acetate from Marijuana Vaping Products

Portland, OR —  At its monthly meeting on November 21, 2019, the Commissioners of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission affirmed the OLCC’s existing authority to ban adulterants, such as Vitamin E acetate, from inclusion in marijuana products.  The Commission also approved eight marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.

Public health investigators with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have identified Vitamin E acetate as a potential culprit in the national vaping respiratory illness outbreak.  Forty-two people, including two in Oregon, have died from the illness.  More than 2,100 individuals have been afflicted with the lung injury, including 18 Oregonians.

Previously the OLCC had not expressly allowed or banned Vitamin E acetate from being mixed into marijuana vaping products.  Ingredients for marijuana products are already screened as part of the OLCC’s packaging and labeling pre-approval process.  The Commission’s action supports both the public health finding and the agency’s ability to ban Vitamin E acetate.

“We’re making it clear that to protect consumer health we will vigorously scrutinize what goes into marijuana products sold in Oregon’s legal marketplace,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director.  “The Commission is taking steps with our regulatory partners to put in place additional consumer safeguards.  Just this week we discussed with the legislature establishing a state-run reference lab so that regulators can test marijuana products in an effort to better protect consumers.”

Under Oregon law, the OLCC can prohibit recreational marijuana licensees from selling a marijuana item that contains “injurious or adulterated” ingredients. See ORS 475B.232(2) for reference.

Under existing OLCC administrative rules “adulterated” is defined to mean in part “a foreign, inferior, poisonous or deleterious ingredient or substance that renders the marijuana item injurious to health.  See OAR 845-025-1015(2) for reference.  Based upon the CDC finding, the OLCC has determined that Vitamin E acetate is an adulterant.

Vitamin E acetate may continue to be included in non-inhaled marijuana products, such as lotions and edibles, so long as its introduction into those products meets all other OLCC requirements.

Kind Leaf Director Selected for OLCC & Governors Work Group

Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 19-09 , on October 4, 2019, directing state agencies to enact a temporary ban on the sale of flavored vaping products, as well as other sources or additives as they are identified in cases of vaping-related lung injury or death.

Executive Order 19-09 calls for a 180-day ban on all flavored vaping products under the emergency rule making authority of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

In addition to the temporary ban, the executive order calls for state agencies to develop plans within 90 days regarding:

• Consumer warnings about the dangers of vaping
• Ingredient disclosure for vaping products
• Testing of vaping products to determine product safety
• Improving health care provider reporting of vaping-related lung
injuries to OHA
• Increasing access to FDA-approved cessation services and
methods
• Establishing a statewide prevention and education campaign
aimed at discouraging the use of vaping products

Executive Order 19-09 also convenes a Vaping Public Health Workgroup to advise the Governor and state agencies, examine the evidence about the causes and effects of vaping-related lung injuries, and collect feedback and input about the vaping public health crisis. Read more information about the Vaping Public Heal… .

The workgroup’s membership will consist of public health experts, Representatives from the Governor’s office, the Oregon Legislature, OHA, the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture, and OLCC; as well as members from law enforcement, the Association of Oregon Counties, and public stakeholders, a representative of the cannabis industry as well as the vaping business community.

The workgroup will participate in a series of closed door meetings to discuss policy recommendations for Oregon lawmakers to consider and implement. The OLCC is hoping to use this meeting to discuss thge proposed botanical terpene exemption process, discuss other additives (MCT, PG, vitamin E), and develop an evolving dialogue covering the concerns about the vaping illnesses associated with legal purchases in the Oregon cannabis market. 

Erin Purchase

Erin Purchase, Director of Operations of Kind Leaf Pendleton has been invited to participate in the Governor’s Work group. She will lean on her background in Complimentary Alternative Medicine, her long-term experience in the cannabis industry as well as her passion for consumer rights and safety.

Erin was recently featured in numerous media articles focused on the actions taken by Kind Leaf Pendleton in light of the alarming news about two Oregonians passing away from vaping related illnesses. After this news, Kind Leaf founders removed all vape pens with non-cannabis ingredients from the shelves and began questioning the sources for the non-cannabis ingredients from the producers across Oregon.

The Willamette Week reached out Erin about her reasons, here is what was said, “But Erin Purchase, director of operations for the dispensary Kind Leaf Pendleton, says she pulled 15 vape cartridge brands off her shelves because she doesn’t know what’s in them. She says stores only receive a blanket label reading ‘natural and artificial flavors.’ The retailer does not even have access to the ‘proprietary’ ingredients or the methods behind the extraction done by the processor,” Purchase says.” Read More

Erin has the intention and expectation to be a voice of reason, resting directly in between law makers and vape pen businesses, advocating for consumer safety standards.

Further reading:
OLCC & OHA Action
Executive Order 19-09
Governor’s Action

#BeKind


Kind Leaf
1733 SW Court Ave
Pendleton, Oregon
(541) 612-8588
http://www.kindleafpendleton.com

OHA, OLCC file rules banning flavored vaping sales, including online

Rules put into effect Governor’s executive order aimed at reducing youth use

PORTLAND, Ore.—The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission today filed temporary rules that put into effect Gov. Kate Brown’s Oct. 4 executive order banning all flavored vaping product sales in the state.

The temporary rules, which will remain in effect for six months starting Oct. 15, prohibit the sale of all flavored vaping products—including online sales—to consumers in Oregon. The ban covers all tobacco and cannabis (marijuana and hemp) vaping products that contain natural or artificial flavors including, but not limited to, chocolate, coffee, cocoa, menthol, mint, wintergreen, vanilla, honey, coconut, licorice, nuts, fruit, any candy, dessert, alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage, herb or spice.

Tobacco-flavored tobacco or nicotine products, as well as marijuana-flavored marijuana or THC products that use only marijuana-derived flavorings, including terpenes, are not included in the ban. 

Retailers found violating the temporary rules will receive a warning letter and recommendations on coming into compliance. Continued violations could result in civil penalties of up to $500 per day, per violation. In addition, cannabis. In addition, cannabis retailers or processors could face violations up to and including cancellation of their license.

Additional components of vaping products could be banned in the future. The Governor’s executive order directs OHA and OLCC to “take immediate action and adopt additional emergency rules” to prohibit any chemical or contaminant found to have caused or contributed to vaping-associated lung injuries being investigated in Oregon and 48 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are nine cases of this illness in Oregon, including two deaths.

OHA and OLCC officials say the temporary rules filed today are significant steps toward stemming the well-documented tide of e-cigarette use and vaping by youth, as well as keeping products that may expose people to unsafe chemicals and other contaminants off store shelves.

Among Oregon high school students who use e-cigarettes exclusively, nearly 90% use flavored e-cigarette products, OHA found. And there is strong evidence that e-cigarettes increase youth nicotine addiction and increase the risk that youth will start using combustible tobacco such as cigarettes.

“We have been warning Oregonians about the health effects of these products before this current outbreak of serious lung injury added more evidence of the dangers of vaping,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., health officer and state epidemiologist. “These rules stop the sale of a potentially dangerous product, and they’re part of a comprehensive approach to curbing youth vaping and additional cases of vaping-associated lung injuries.”

He points to additional directives in the Governor’s executive order that call on OHA and OLCC to develop consumer warnings for THC and non-THC products; expand easy access to FDA-approved cessation resources; implement a statewide prevention and education campaign; and submit legislative proposals with long-term solutions to reduce public health harms from vaping.

The temporary rules affect not only OLCCrecreational marijuana licensed retailers and processors, but also alcohol licensees that sell nicotine vaping products, including retailers that sell beer and wine, bars and taverns, and liquor store agents.

The OLCC said the flavor ban is just the latest step in its evolution from focusing on public safety to an agency with an equivalent focus on consumer protection. Through increased review of products sold in the OLCC-licensed retail market and the development of testing capacity, the OLCC will continue to work to refine consumer product disclosure.

“This Commission is working very hard to ensure the cannabis industry can grow, thrive and compete in the Oregon marketplace,” said Paul Rosenbaum, chair of the OLCC. “We are doing so with a clear focus on the integrity of the marketplace for businesses, consumers and public safety. However, it is our overwhelming responsibility to protect public health and our consumers from undue risk. This agency’s rapid and nimble action to implement the Governor’s executive order is exactly why regulated cannabis will always be a superior consumer choice over illegal markets.”

Additional rules were filed earlier this week. On Wednesday, OHA filed temporary rules that require health care providers to report hospitalizations and deaths due to “vaping-associated lung injury.” Physicians have long had to report “uncommon illness of potential public health significance,” but the new rules are intended to reduce confusion by specifically naming this new lung illness as reportable by Oregon law to public health agencies.

Due to the ongoing investigation of vaping-associated lung injuries, OHA health officials continue to recommend people stop vaping immediately. Those experiencing symptoms of the illnesses, such as shortness of breath, cough or chest pain should immediately seek medical attention.

Those needing help quitting vaping cannabis and nicotine can take advantage of a variety of cessation services, including the Oregon Quit Line, Truth Initiative, Oregon’s Alcohol and Drug Helpline, and SAMHSA’s National Helpline. Information is available at healthoregon.org/vaping.

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For additional information, contact:

Mark Pettinger at 503-872-5115
Spokesperson – Recreational Marijuana Program
mark.pettinger@oregon.gov