The Whistler Medical Marijuana Co. (WMMC), based in Function Junction, is voluntarily recalling a batch of pot after finding it was contaminated with mould.
The licensed cannabis producer received complaints from two customers who found mould using microscopes on the White Widow strain, also referred to as White Shark or Peace-Maker, said founder Chris Pelz. After testing product samples, the presence of mould was confirmed by the company.
Because of the size of some of the buds, the majority of which tipped the scales at 20 grams or more, Pelz said, moisture was retained near the stem, leading to the formation of mould.
“Going forward, what we’re going to do is, during the trimming cycle, limit our buds to a smaller size, and that problem won’t happen ever again,” he said. “What’s key is we know why this occurred and how to fix it.”
According to Health Canada, mould does not present a significant risk to healthy Canadians, but for those “whose immune system has been weakened by other serious illnesses, mould could cause infections,” according to a release issued Friday, Aug. 15.
Patients are advised to stop using marijuana from this batch immediately, and can return the affected cannabis by contacting WWMC to obtain the appropriate packaging and a postage paid shipping container. Clients can also destroy the product at home if they so choose, and are recommended to add water to the marijuana to render it unusable, mix it with cat litter to mask the odour and dispose of it with regular household waste.
Both WWMC and Health Canada said they have not received any reports of adverse effects associated with the use of the White Widow product, or any of the other strains the company offers.
Whistler Medical Marijuana is currently at production capacity, serving around 500 clients, and Pelz doesn’t think the recall will hamper the company’s continued growth, saying he has received numerous messages of support from patients who appreciated how the producer handled the situation.
“When you’re a pioneer, you’re bound to hit a few bumps in the road,” he said. “This is all part of the learning curve, and we move on.”
In March, the WMMC became the ninth producer licensed in the country following sweeping changes to the federal medical marijuana program that allowed commercial operations to begin cultivating and distributing cannabis for the first time to the roughly 38,000 Canadians permitted to possess medicinal pot.
Following the recall, the WMMC now offers three strains for purchase, with plans to eventually quadruple production capacity, adding two new strains next month, and two more in November along with the return of White Widow. The company’s website, which also touts WWMC as Canada’s first all-organic medical marijuana facility, notes that five more strains will be added to the product line in December. Patient registration will reopen around mid-October, Pelz said.
Three pot producers have recalled products since Heath Canada’s new medical marijuana regulations went into effect on April 1.