Cannabis Company Could Lose License for Using Banned Pesticide | Business | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Cannabis Company Could Lose License for Using Banned Pesticide


Published May 7, 2024 at 5:57 p.m.

  • Mykyta Starychenko | Dreamstime
A local cannabis company could lose its license after its products tested positive for a banned pesticide for the second time.

The Vermont Cannabis Control Board has issued a recall notice for all Holland Cannabis flower and prerolled joints. While no one has been sickened, the board is investigating potential contamination with myclobutanil, a fungicide that is prohibited in Vermont's weed market.

Holland Cannabis already had its license temporarily suspended and was operating under a “corrective action plan” with the control board after someone was sickened last year from smoking its myclobutanil-tainted cannabis. Because this would be a second offense, Holland Cannabis faces a $20,000 fine and revocation of its cultivation license, according to a notice of violation the control board issued on Friday.

Holland Cannabis is registered to Matthew Morin, who has a "tier 2" cultivator license. That allows him to grow 2,500 square feet of cannabis canopy both indoors and out. At least six dispensaries across the state stock Holland Cannabis and must halt sales, according to the control board. Customers can return the company’s weed to the store where they bought it.

The case remains under investigation, control board chair James Pepper told Seven Days. But the early results are concerning, he added.

“Some pesticides are OK for human consumption,” Pepper said. “This one is a very known toxic one. So there's no excuse here. And the fact that they've been through this once before leaves very little room for any sort of leniency.”
The control board first learned of the contaminated cannabis in late March, when field agents “conducting routine product safety surveillance collected retail samples from three Derby-area” dispensaries, board records say. Those tested positive, and Holland agreed to recall its products from the retailer while further testing was completed.

About a month later, on May 2, a testing lab notified the control board that three Holland samples had tested positive. That prompted the board to issue the health warning and recall notice.

According to the control board, the fungicide was likely applied after the cannabis had been tested and harvested, which would be “unprecedented in Vermont.”
Holland is accused of intentionally concealing evidence of a violation; failing to abide by a corrective action plan; and use of unauthorized pesticides.

“The violation(s) set out herein pose an imminent threat to the public health, safety, and welfare by placing adulterated cannabis in the stream of commerce,” the notice of violation reads. “Adulterated cannabis flower available at retail may be hazardous to human health.”

Holland Cannabis has 15 days to contest the findings before the board makes a final decision. Morin did not immediately return a request for comment.

A revocation would be rare. Only one licensee has faced such a punishment, after he allegedly tried to transfer his weed businesses to his wife without going through the proper channels. Matt Lindemer, owner of a Morrisville cannabis shop and edible manufacturing business, has appealed the board’s decision, according to Pepper.

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