OLCC: Tainted pot got through system due to lab error

The state requires extensive testing of marijuana

FILE-In this Friday, April 22, 2016 file photo, a marijuana bud is seen at a medical marijuana facility in Unity, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) just issued its first recall of recreational pot for high pesticide levels, and it got through the system due to a lab error, officials say.

The state requires extensive testing, so some are wondering what went wrong. The bad batch of marijuana was found at a shop in Mapleton, about 45 miles west of Eugene. There are no problems right now at stores in Portland.

Information like this is available to marijuana retailers so they know about the pot they’re selling. March 22, 2017, (KOIN)

In the end, the OLCC traced the problem back to the testing lab.

The commission said labs do a panel of tests on each batch of pot for different things, like water content, THC concentration, and of course, pesticides.

Once it passes inspection, growers move the weed on to a wholesaler for distribution.

Everything is monitored and posted in the cannabis tracking system, and that’s where something went wrong with the batch in Lane County.

The lab that tested the tainted marijuana did not complete the full panel of testing that was required before entering it into the system, officials said.

When the pesticide results were posted, they showed up in the cannabis tracking system at the retailer’s end.

“In reality what had happened is it had only passed a couple of the tests on the panel and not the more important one, the pesticide test,” said Mark Pettinger, OLCC spokesman. “All systems are based on humans doing the work correctly, and this was clearly a human error activity, but another human caught it.”

Mark Pettinger, OLCC spokesman, said the tainted marijuana got through due to human error. March 22, 2017, (KOIN)

Pettinger said the retailer who initially had the tainted marijuana in their store was “great.”

“He wanted to make sure his customers didn’t have a contaminated product,” the spokesman said.

Roughly 5% of marijuana fails the pesticide test, according to Pettinger.

He said officials will use this recall to find out if there’s any way to improve the tracking system.

“It really just had to do with data that was not all entered at the same time correctly,” Pettinger said.

Jayson Fitzgerald, store manager at Attis Trading Company said, “It shouldn’t have ever made it in the system, but stuff is gonna slip through the cracks with anything.”

He’s constantly watching the tracking system at his business.

“It tells me everything [the system] says about [pot shipments],” he said.

Fitzgerald showed KOIN 6 News where in the system the shop owner in Lane County eventually caught the failed pesticide test before reporting it to police.

“He caught it at the store level, which is the last line of defense, so you gotta catch it. It was a great job on his part,” Fitzgerald said.