May 10, 2017
Pilot project intended to provide a centralized call center for health questions related to marijuana use
With the rapid growth of Denver’s marijuana industry, questions from public health professionals, marijuana product consumers, and marijuana industry professionals alike are popping up with increased frequency. To help address these questions, Denver Health’s Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center Partners and Denver’s Department of Environmental Health today launched the Marijuana Health & Safety Line (877-741-3777).
The 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week Marijuana Health & Safety Line connects callers with pharmacists, nurses and toxicology experts at Denver Health’s Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. These medical experts can answer questions about occupational safety hazards for marijuana industry workers as well as questions about pesticides, toxins, additives, ingredients and contaminants in marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) products. Callers can also contact the line regarding safe-use concerns, such as those surrounding potentially tampered with packaging or serving sizes. The Marijuana Health & Safety Line is a three-month pilot project, funded by the City and County of Denver that may be extended.
As of December of 2016, more than 1,100 active marijuana businesses were licensed in Denver. Denver Environmental Health (DEH), the first agency in the world to inspect marijuana food businesses for product safety, is responsible for overseeing the regulation and safety of marijuana products through its Public Health Inspections Division.
From 2013 to December of 2016, DEH investigators made more than 2,500 site visits to marijuana-related facilities and conducted more than 80 investigations pertaining to marijuana products that were potentially contaminated with pesticide residues or at risk for other contamination. Of those 80 investigations, 35 showed off-label pesticide use and almost 25 of those showed the use of multiple off-label pesticides.
“We are eager to see a resource for reliable information to both consumers and industry employees, and we are excited that this resource may yield data and insights about the health impacts of cannabis consumption and occupational exposure,” said Danica Lee, Director of the Public Health Inspections Division at DEH.
The Marijuana Health & Safety Line gives public health professionals an additional, powerful resource to help them stay in line with technology advances in the marijuana industry.
The line is not meant for anyone experiencing life-threatening emergencies and callers requiring immediate medical assistance will be directed to 911 operators immediately. Additionally, this line is not meant for use as a directory of dispensaries and will not be useful for anyone seeking specifics of dispensaries, such as locations, hours and pricing.