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Alaska blocks marijuana suspected of containing pesticides

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Matanuska-Susitna Borough marijuana grower is under investigation in Alaska for possible distribution of products cultivated with pesticides, officials said.

The state Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office sent an advisory to Alaska marijuana retail stores Nov. 1 ordering the removal and quarantine of all packages originating from Calm N Collective, news organizations reported.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is also investigating the Houston-based company’s alleged use of Eagle 20, a pesticide containing myclobutanil.

The chemical is stable at room temperatures but releases the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide when combusted, according to the state notice to retailers.

Testing for pesticides is not currently a requirement in the state Marijuana Control Board’s regulations, said Erika McConnell, Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office director.

McConnell does not believe any licensed testing facilities have the capacity to test for pesticides, she said in an email.

Cultivators must list “fertilizers, chemicals, gases, and deliver(y) systems, including carbon dioxide, management, to be used,” in their application. Pesticides are then checked against the environmental conservation department’s pesticide criteria, she said.

Ron Bass of Calm N Collective said in a statement that a disgruntled employee he was in the process of firing was responsible for the alleged illegal pesticide use.

“The employee in question had been accused of stealing and was aware that steps were being made towards firing him,” Bass wrote. “At some point after this, he posted a picture of himself holding a bottle of unapproved pesticides in the grow room as if he was about to apply them.”

The Alaska marijuana control office has sent the product out of state for testing that could take up to 60 days, Bass said.

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Eds: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the marijuana grower was in Houston, Texas instead of Houston, Alaska.

Associated Press