Toxic Pot Present in Some Los Angeles-Space Shops – NBC Los Angeles
According to an investigation by the NBC4 I team, some of the marijuana products sold in stores and delivery services in Southern California are loaded with banned toxic chemicals that could make you sick.
“Why would you want to put poison in your body,” said Hinaxi Patel, technical director of Brightside Scientific in Long Beach, an independent state-licensed laboratory that tested the pot products on NBC4.
Last July, the state of California enacted regulations banning a long list of toxic pesticides from marijuana sold by retail companies. However, laboratory tests commissioned by the I-Team indicated that these pesticides were still present in some products in amounts that could make a user sick.
Patel explained that some of the banned pesticides could cause serious health problems, especially if smoked or vaporized, because they get directly into your bloodstream.
“You’re talking about respiratory disease, cancer,” Patel told the I-Team.
The recreational pot became legal in January 2018, and the LAPD told I-Team that there are about 535 stores in town selling marijuana.
Team I bought marijuana cartridges used for vaping and flowers used for smoking from 24 stores and delivery services and had Brightside Scientific test them for all banned pesticides.
Many of these companies told I-Team customers that their products were safe.
“Yes, they’re pesticide-free,” said the saleswoman for Burdank, a pharmacy on Burbank Boulevard in North Hollywood, an I-Team buyer. There we bought two vape cartridges under the brand name Dank Tank.
However, laboratory tests showed that these cartridges contained numerous banned pesticides, including myclobutanil, a pesticide that the manufacturer said turns into toxic hydrogen cyanide when heated, which it does when smoking or vaporizing the pot. Neither Burdank nor Dank Tank responded to our requests for comments.
Seven of the 24 samples purchased by NBC4, or nearly 30 percent, tested positive for pesticides. That means they are not following state safe pot regulations.
In 2017, the I-Team first tested a pot from pharmacies in Southern California and found that 93 percent of the samples tested positive for pesticides.
According to our 2017 report, the state passed strict regulations banning the use of many pesticides on potted plants.
At the time, Lori Ajax, director of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), told NBC4 that the goal of the regulations was to “make sure the public has a safe product”.
After the I-Team found a pot for sale that was still contaminated with dangerous pesticides, they asked him to speak to Ajax again. Her office said she is not currently doing interviews.
In its new investigation, the I-Team found that all of the contaminated pot samples it had purchased came from stores and delivery services that were found to be illegal at the time of sale. They did not have the required licenses, according to LAPD and BCC.
The I team found all the pharmacies and delivery services on the popular Weedmaps website. Neither Weedmaps nor the tested companies would speak to the I-Team.
The LAPD tells NBC4 that there are about 175 licensed, legal pot shops in town and another 350 that are unlicensed.
“We don’t know what chemicals they used to grow this product,” said LAPD Lt. Abe Rangel regarding the unlicensed businesses.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulations, pot traders must obtain both city and state licenses to legally sell marijuana in the city of Los Angeles.
NBC4 asked Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA chief of cannabis regulation – Cat Packer – to speak to us about why the city hasn’t closed the hundreds of pharmacies that sell potentially dangerous pots. Nobody answered our inquiries.