Cannabis Consumer Protection

Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) inspects and regulates marijuana food and infused product facilities consistent with other food facilities in Denver using the Denver Food Establishment Regulations

Visit our Marijuana Info page for more information on the city's approach to the management of marijuana.

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 DDPHE launched the Marijuana Health & Safety Line (877-741-3777).

Additional Information

Bulletins and Recalls

Sign up for Bulletins

2023

2020

  • February 10, 2020 - Denver Marijuana Business—The Lodge—Voluntarily Recalls Marijuana for Yeast, Mold
  • January 10, 2020 - Denver Marijuana Businesses—Altitude East and Altitude WestVoluntarily Recall Marijuana for Presence of Yeast/Mold

2019

  • October 14, 2019 - Bonsai Cultivation Voluntarily Recalls Retail Marijuana, Retail Marijuana Products Due to Presence of Yeast/Mold
  • July 3, 2019 - Universal Herbs LLC Voluntarily Recalls Retail Marijuana Products Due to Presence of Yeast/Mold
  • April 9, 2019 - Lightshade Labs LLC Voluntarily Recalls Medical and Retail Marijuana Due to Presence of Yeast/Mold in Marijuana Products

*To request a copy of any of the above recalls, please contact us at PHIcomments@denvergov.org.

Food Safety Considerations

All edibles, beverages, pills, oral sprays, sublingual products, etc. are regulated as foods under the Denver Food Establishment Rules and Regulations. If a concentrated product is labeled “For smoking or vaping only” it will not be regulated as a food.   

Pesticides in Marijuana Products

During regular inspections, DDPHE investigates for the possibility of pesticide contamination of marijuana products. Investigations have resulted in orders to hold plants and recall products due to evidence of potentially unsafe pesticide residues in products.

Pesticide use and application is under the authority of the Colorado Department of Agriculture

Off-label pesticides use is a violation of State law, and residues in marijuana products are considered a public health risk. Marijuana businesses should take all measures necessary to prevent contaminated product from reaching consumers. 

Public Health Enforcement Approach

DDPHE’s public health enforcement approach for cannabis aligns with other industries regulated by the department. Under this approach, cannabis products found with contamination such as unapproved pesticide residues, elevated yeast/mold levels, mycotoxins, pests, etc., may be condemned by DDPHE and ordered destroyed.  

As it does with other industries, DDPHE will use enforcement tools such as administrative citations for imminent health hazards and summonses to court for noncompliance. Denver businesses that use potentially contaminated plant material and/or distribute potentially contaminated product to consumers may be subject to civil penalties, recall orders, condemnation orders, and in cases of purposeful action or egregious negligence, recommendations to Denver Excise & Licenses for action against a business license.

Cannabis businesses should take all measures necessary to prevent contaminated product from reaching consumers. DDPHE will continue to follow up on complaints and referrals, and will investigate cannabis businesses and products when necessary to determine if products are potentially contaminated such that they present a public health risk. Each investigation is conducted on a case-by-case basis and processes are subject to change based on information collected.

DDPHE is committed to an equitable approach that prioritizes the health and safety of the public and strengthens regulated industries through compliance. Questions and comments may be submitted to phicomments@denvergov.org.

Hemp-Derived Consumable Products

All foods and food ingredients sold in Denver, or used as ingredients in foods produced in Denver, shall originate from an approved source. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) registers hemp-derived consumable product manufacturers as wholesale food manufacturers. Approved manufacturers will be regulated under the Colorado Wholesale Manufacturing Food Regulations. CDPHE’s industrial hemp policy states that hemp sourced from outside of Colorado is considered from an approved source provided all utilized parts of the hemp plant originate from a cultivator operating under a regulated industrial hemp program which applies safe consumption criteria. DDPHE recognizes CDPHE-registered facilities as approved sources, however, DDPHE also conducts independent inspections of hemp-derived consumable product manufacturers within the City and County of Denver, and these facilities are required to also hold a Denver license. For more information, please review CDPHE’s industrial hemp in food webpage and CDPHE’s wholesale food registration website. Find more information on obtaining a Denver wholesale food manufacturing license.

Manufacturers of hemp-derived consumable products outside of Colorado must show evidence of inspection or oversight by a regulatory health authority, such as a local or state health department or other regulatory authority, to proceed with sales in Denver. These products can be approved for sale in Denver provided there are no outstanding violations identified by the applicable health authority that may contribute to significant consumer safety hazards.

Please see the “Food Safety Considerations” tab above for information on refrigeration requirements and approved source for certain consumable cannabis products.