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Published on September 10th, 2015 | by News Feed

Denver Post Retracts Phony Story About Weed, But It’s Too Late to Help Dispensaries

Newspapers are notorious for biting on false leads and running with fabricated stories. On Monday the Denver Post did just that by running an erroneous story that claimed several marijuana dispensaries in town were still using marijuana that had been treated with the chemical pesticide known as spinosad. Spinosad is a banned chemical that the state of Colorado has disallowed all together. Because of this new ban the state has been cracking down on dispensaries that are still using the chemical.

According to the Posts article, “hundreds of lozenges” and an “undisclosed amount of raw cannabis,” were treated with the banned chemical. The report targeted MMJ America and Mountain High Suckers as the shops in question.

The story claimed that health officials were being forced to quarantine large quantities of marijuana products because of the presence of this deadly chemical. However the truth of these claims was soon brought to light. The shops in question were not using the chemical and they had not been using the chemical. The issue arose from using older, outdated labels.

Health inspectors had already stopped by MMJ and noticed the labeling issue. Shop staff asked the inspector if the labels could be used as long as the name spinosad was blacked out. The inspector agreed and said they would not return unless their boss would not allow this.

So where did the story originate? City Attorney Dan Douglas is a known opponent of marijuana legislation and the use of the product. Someone form his office was authorized to release and hand deliver the information to the Denver Post.

“The city attorney has it out for us,” said Jake Salazar, owner of MMJ America.

The problems started nearly one week ago when the inspector noticed outdated labels that still used the name spinosad on the labeling.

“So, we had our staff start crossing everything out, and then explaining to people at the counter that spinosad is not one of the chemicals that we use,” Salazar said.

Several days later the same inspector returned and informed Salazar that this process was not sufficient. The inspector also told the owner that his samples would need to be retested for spinosad. Because this is a time consuming process the products in question had to be held before being sold.

“We sent the batches that they asked off to the lab, paid for it, and had it done overnight to test for spinosad and other chemicals. We came back totally negative for all of them. [The health inspector] come back that morning, and the hold was released,” Salazar said.

While MMJ was attempting to comply with the regulations and the requested test the Denver Post ran the story as full blown truth. The author of the article claimed that none of the owners in question could be reached for comment. “Representatives of Mountain High and MMJ could not be reached for comment.” Yet Salazar claims that no one called or stopped by his shop to ask for a comment.

According to the Post they are the ones who reached out for the story.

“We got tips from a couple sources that the city of Denver had sent out a marijuana industry bulletin to businesses statewide about new inspections for pesticides. We followed up with the city and learned about the specific businesses that were affected, including MMJ America and other outfits,” Baca said in a statement.

The story was retracted as false nearly 24 hours later.

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