RedeCan Pharm, based in Fenwick, Ont., said it was voluntarily recalling 7,400 bottles of its 3.5-gram “B.E.C.” strain, which cost $27.90 on the OCS website.
The product was no longer available on the OCS site as of Thursday afternoon.
In a statement, RedeCan said that it was made aware of five complaints of mould in product lot 4B2L3, which it said had been “rigorously inspected and tested by an independent third-party lab” prior to shipment.
“In order to act quickly, transparently and in the best interest of our consumers, we decided to conduct a Type II voluntary recall of B.E.C. Lot 4B2L3,” RedeCan said.
Type II recalls refer to cases where use of a product can cause temporary adverse health consequences, but where the likelihood of serious health consequences is low.
RedeCan is advising consumers not to consume cannabis product that contains mould, and to see a doctor if they consume mouldy weed and become sick.
The OCS confirmed that RedeCan voluntarily requested the recall of all units of its B.E.C. strain. The Crown corporation said it will issue refunds to customers and charge them back to the company.
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Reports of tainted RedeCan cannabis first began to emerge on Reddit earlier this week.
On Monday, a Reddit poster shared these photos of B.E.C. cannabis buds with mould on them.
Others quickly began to follow suit.
“I’m so mad. I waited almost a month to get something that could be very dangerous to ingest,” wrote one user, who also shared a photo of mould-infested RedeCan bud.
One Toronto-area man shared several photos purporting to show bugs not just in buds of B.E.C., but also in RedeCan’s other offerings, including its White Widow, White Shark, Shark Shock, God Bud, Wappa and Shishkaberry strains.
Mark, who didn’t want his last name published over concerns it might hamper his ability to travel to the U.S., helps run SafeBud, a website “promoting safety and consistency” in cannabis products.
In addition to the photos, he also uploaded a YouTube video outlining his findings.
Another disgruntled customer took to the company’s Facebook page to share a photo of what she said were bugs in ground-up cannabis.
“Wasn’t expecting the extra protein in my morning bowl,” she wrote.
“RedeCan looks like you’re having some quality control issues.”
RedeCan declined to comment on reports of bugs in its strains despite repeated requests from Global News.
However, the company told BNNBloomberg that reports of bugs in its cannabis were a case of people mistaking “harmless non-volatile organic matter” for insects.
RedeCan’s website states that the company doesn’t use any pesticides in its growing process, instead making use of “beneficial insects like ladybugs or pest-specific biologicals.”
However, Mark from Safebud told Global News that while the black objects seen in some photos might not be bugs, one of his photos appears to show a lighter-coloured insect that looks like an aphid:
Whilst not directly addressing reports of bugs, RedeCan CEO Rick Redekop hinted that consumers required more education on organically grown cannabis as well as best practices for storage.
“The events of this week show us that we have a job to do in educating consumers about organic growing practices — what we do, how we do it and what they might see in the end product,” Redekop said.
“We also have an opportunity to share with consumers the best practices for consumers in handling and storing their organic cannabis purchases.”
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Mark said that he talked to the OCS about getting a refund, but there were bigger issues at stake.
“In the end, is the government doing a better job than the black market, or worse?” he asked. “Even if OCS doesn’t issue a refund, it’s okay, not that big of a deal. But what’s important is that we get better quality checks.”
Mark added that he and his friends at Safebud purchased the RedeCan strains to do tests and reviews rather than to simply smoke it recreationally.
“It’s just disappointing because I was under the impression that everything would be checked, down to pests, mould, etc.” he said. “I don’t care if the product is late and what-not just to be safe and get what you pay for.
“But for this kind of price, it’s like buying vodka or beer. It has to be quality-checked.”