Colorado Cannabis Recalls Skyrocket in 2023 with New Testing Mandate

Cannabis companies call the new mandate an undue burden for the market.

Colorado marijuana regulators issued a record 17 cannabis product recalls last year, up from just three recalls in 2019, after a new testing mandate for aspergillus, a type of mold, was established.

The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division put the new rule in place following a handful of fatalities among cannabis users in other states from aspergillosis, Colorado Public Radio reported, although there have not been any reported illnesses or deaths from aspergillus-contaminated marijuana in Colorado.

That lack of local illnesses has Colorado cannabis companies arguing that the new rule is an unnecessary burden on both businesses and consumers, given that it’s led to 17 product recalls in just one year. The recalls even included some goods that were sold in 2020.

“I think it’s almost an impossible standard, and I think it would be worth it to take a step back,” Kevin Gallagher, executive director of the Colorado Cannabis Manufacturers Association, told CPR. “It’s incredibly easy to fail.”

The MED is standing by the rule, arguing that it’s worth it to potentially save lives, but an agency spokesman hinted there may be some flexibility in the future.

Gallagher added that market conditions in the past year-and-a-half have been “tough” for many companies, and the aspergillus testing rule is one more hurdle for struggling businesses.

“Every business is honestly just trying to hold their necks up and trying to breathe here,” he said.

John Schroyer

John Schroyer has been a reporter since 2006, initially with a focus on politics, and covered the 2012 Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana. He has written about the cannabis industry specifically since 2014, after being on hand for the first-ever legal cannabis sales on New Year’s Day that year in Denver. John has covered subsequent marijuana market launches in California and Illinois, has written about every aspect of the marijuana trade, and was part of the team that built the cannabis industry’s first-ever trade show, MJBizCon. He joined Green Market Report in 2022.

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