A little over a month ago, two of Washington’s largest cannabis producers were quietly barred from all sales, pending a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) investigation into illegal use of prohibited pesticides. According to documents obtained by The Stranger, New Leaf Enterprises, makers of the popular Dama line of products, and BMF Washington LLC, whose cannabis is used by brands including Liberty Reach and JuJu Joints, received stop sale orders on December 29 and December 17 of last year, respectively.
According to those documents, which also included reports from investigators in both cases, the investigations were prompted by third-party complaints. The stop sales were not announced to the public, but murmurs abounded in the industry that something had gone awry with New Leaf. A public records request filed with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board regarding stop sale orders revealed that both New Leaf and BMF were the targets of WSLCB pesticide investigations.
The WSLCB, to its credit, has clearly stepped up its pesticide enforcement game. Previously, when WSLCB investigators encountered disallowed pesticides at a grow, they were forced to call Erik Johansen, the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA) pesticide guru, for help. This time, they brought WSDA pesticide experts—including Johansen—along for the ride. And in the New Leaf case, the WSLCB also contracted the state’s first lab equipped for pesticide residue testing, Trace Analytics, in a major shift for an agency that had previously dismissed residue testing as expensive and unnecessary.