State regulators adopt an emergency rule for recalling legal pot products, something Washington hasn’t had, unlike Colorado, which has seen a recent flurry of recalls.
The state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) adopted an emergency rule Wednesday allowing it to recall legal pot products considered a public health risk.
Washington regulators have not had a recall process in place, unlike Colorado where recalls have been frequent. The city of Denver pulled 19 pot products from the market in a recent 19-week stretch.
The new rule takes immediate effect, but it may be revised after public feedback.
It gives the LCB authority to recall products deemed to be a risk and establishes procedures for a recall.
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Risk is not defined by the rule. Factors that may contribute to a recall include evidence that unapproved pesticides were used on, or are present on, pot plants.
The rule also allows recalls based on “evidence of another condition that poses a risk to public health or safety.”
Washington has approved a long list of pesticides for the pot industry. The state hasn’t mandated pesticide testing because it’s expensive and complicated.
The state is not adopting a zero-tolerance policy, LCB spokesman Brian Smith said.
“If a product tests very high for an unapproved pesticide, that will certainly increase the odds of recall. In the end, we may have to defend any potential recall action so a level of reasonableness will factor,” Smith said.
Much remains unknown about the health impact of pesticides on pot because research that’s abundant for pesticides on foods is lacking when it comes to what happens when you heat and inhale such chemicals.
Licensed businesses, such as retail shops, may initiate a recall by notifying the LCB and pulling products from shelves.
Businesses whose products are recalled must notify retailers and consumers via news release or other public notice. They must also have procedures for isolating recalled products and minimizing their distribution for sale.
The LCB may also seize and destroy recalled products.
Four licensed pot growers have been fined or had their licenses suspended in the last year for using unapproved pesticides.
Hilary Bricken, a lawyer who has warned the industry about product liability, called the new rule “a positive step for consumer protection.”