By Spencer Grey
Canada, the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis for recreational use, has been having a hard go of it. First there was the predictable logistics issues in addition to the Canada Post strike, which have already caused shortages in the fledgling market. But now, Canadian cannabis buyers in Ontario are facing a much more dangerous issue with the weed they’ve managed to purchase.
Regardless of your feelings towards Reddit, the site has a knack for aggregating consumer horror stories that lead to deeper journalistic investigations. This time, Reditors took to the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) thread
to share stories of moldy and bug-filled weed. If it sounds like a nightmare, we urge you not to look at all the photos shared on the thread linked above. It’s not pretty, and even thinking about it gives us the creepy crawlies. Say what you will about Washington testing labs, but actual insects are not a problem we ever ran into at the beginning of legalization.
With so many posters coming together to compare their batches of mail order cannabis, it immediately became clear that one company is the culprit. Investigations confirmed that all the cases of mold and bugs could be traced back to RedeCan Pharm. While most complaints originated in Ontario, RedeCan Pharm also supplies marijuana to the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) of British Columbia—bad news for those living in the area.
The good news is that investigating officials have pinpointed the batch of cannabis that was contaminated with mold. If you or anyone you know has used the Ontario Cannabis Store to purchase weed or received cannabis through the British Columbia LDB, check the product lot. Officials believe all the moldy weed originated from product lot #4B2L3. If you purchased cannabis from this lot, call the LDB Customer Care line at 1-844-420-2227 or email them at [email protected].
On the other hand, officials are completely ignoring the bug problem. Redditors on the thread named specific strains and lots they believe to be affected by bugs in addition to the mold. The particular strains include: B.E.C., Shark Shock, White Widow, White Shark, Wappa, and Shiskaberry. The Shark Shock was packaged in October, but the rest of the strains were packaged in late July and early August. To add insult to injury, the LDB has only recalled one lot of cannabis due to mold, and ignored the bug situation altogether.
Moldy weed is one (deeply terrible) thing, but it can happen without malicious intent on the part of the producer or lab testers. The bug situation is a whole ‘nother animal. Customers reported scores of small black bugs littering their nugs, and RedeCan Pharm’s response was far from empathetic. In fact, their strategy was to say the bugs are beneficial.
Growers certainly use small predatory mites to fight off the more dangerous spider mites, but to find them in the product after the fact is unheard of and frankly disgusting. In an interview with Canadian news outlet CityNews, Master Grower and President of RedeCan Rick Redecop said: “We know that this does not have any sort of ill effects. It is actually a safer product because we don’t use things like pesticides.” He also doubled down by stating, “We stand behind our product and our organic type of way of growing.”
There’s nothing wrong with using mites during the growth process, but I don’t think any person on Earth would be okay with smoking them in their final product. This bizarre response from the offending company doesn’t seem too out of character if you believe the reports on Reddit. User Seriouslyserious99 said: “This isn’t surprising...way before legalization, Redecan was know as the LP ran by Hillbillies. Many insiders were actually surprised their license was ever granted.”
We really feel for all the people who made the disturbing discovery of mold and/or bugs in their legally purchased weed. It’s situations like this that throw a huge wrench in the workings of the regulated marijuana market, and doesn’t increase confidence in the system for pro or anti-pot advocates. Here’s hoping RedeCan figures out how to treat its customers, and keep mites from ending up in their final products.