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Cannabis Consumer Protection


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

For more information on the City's approach to the management of marijuana, visit Denvergov.org/MarijuanaInfo

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). Learn more


What's New?

 
 

 

The Public Health Inspections Division of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) has formed a new committee that brings together a variety of subject matter experts in such areas as toxicology, chemistry, food safety, botany, patient advocacy, the cannabis industry, the cannabis laboratory industry and cannabis research as well as DDPHE officials, city attorneys, and other relevant disciplines to review and evaluate various cannabis matters. The purpose of the committee is to provide suggestions to Denver’s public health administrator, the executive director of DDPHE, other city officials and the Board of DDPHE regarding public health and safety issues associated with the production and consumption of cannabis products.  

The committee may review and evaluate available information and research and provide suggestions on matters such as:

  1. Health and safety issues associated with cannabis products and ingredients intended for human consumption.
  2. Health and safety issues associated with the cultivation, harvesting, and drying/curing/finishing processes used to cultivate and process cannabis plants.
  3. Health and safety issues associated with production processes used to manufacture cannabis products.
  4. Potential Denver cannabis health regulations.

The committee will meet on a quarterly basis or more often if needed. Meeting agendas and detailed minutes will be published on this page.

The first meeting was held on Feb. 1, 2018 from 1:00–3:00 p.m. at 200 W 14th Ave in the Grand Mesa room. See PowerPoint presentation.

Meetings are open to the public, and a short amount of time will be allotted at the end of the meetings for public comment.

Stay tuned for upcoming meeting schedules, agendas and minutes.
 

Committee Members

  • Danica Lee, Public Health Inspection Division Director, Department of Public Health and Environment, City and County of Denver
  • Abby Davidson, Food Safety and Marijuana Program Manager, Department of Public Health and Environment, City and County of Denver
  • Marley Bordovsky, Assistant Section Director, Prosecution and Code Enforcement, City and County of Denver
  • Anshul Bagga, Assistant City Attorney, Prosecution and Code Enforcement, City and County of Denver
  • Molly Duplechian, Deputy Director, Policy and Administration, Department of Excise and Licenses, City and County of Denver
  • Christopher Hoyt, Associate Medical Director, Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center
  • Dorothy Colagiovanni, Laboratory Director, Bona Fides Lab; Vice President of Product Development, Next Frontier Biosciences
  • Gregory Dooley, Assistant Professor of Toxicology, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University
  • Helena Yardley, Director of Science, Franklin Bioscience
  • Jill Ellsworth, Founder, Willow Industries
  • Joe Cantalini, Head of Regulatory Affairs, Organa Labs; Organa Brands
  • John Adgate, Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health; Faculty Affiliate, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University
  • Judith Shlay, Associate Director, Denver Public Health
  • Keith Miller, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Denver
  • Kevin Gallagher, Executive Director, Cannabis Business Alliance
  • Kristi Kelly, Executive Director, Marijuana Industry Group
  • Laura Davis, Environmental Health and Safety Professional
  • Linda Klumpers, Director, Tomori Pharmacology
  • Mark Angerhofer, Research and Development Chemist, Craft 710
  • Melissa Islam, Associate Director of Research and Head Curator of Gardens Natural History Collections, Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Noel Palmer, Chief Scientist, Evolab
  • Scott Hansen, Director of Quality Assurance and Laboratory Manager, Agricor Laboratories
  • Seth Wong, President, TEQ Analytical Laboratories
  • Shireen Banerji, Clinical Manager, Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center
  • Stacey Linn, Patient Advocate, CannAbility Foundation
  • Tobias Postma, Technical Cannabis Consultant, Topo Consulting
  • Mike Van Dyke, Branch Chief, Environmental Epidemiology, Occupational Health and Toxicology, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
     

2018 Meeting Information

 

 

2018

2017

2016
2015

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. 

Due to a general lack of scientific data on how pathogens grow on cannabis, the department has taken a cautious approach with public health and requires that certain cannabis products such as oils, tinctures, butters, honeys, etc., be refrigerated at or below 41°F from production through sale. The specific food safety concern with these cannabis products is Clostridium botulinum, which is a bacteria whose spores are present on plant material and in soil. In the right environment, these spores can produce a toxin that can be fatal. For more information on this potential food safety risk, please review the Special Considerations Associated with Cannabis Extractions, Concentrations, Infusions, and Infused Foods.

By request, the department will offer to conduct a free shelf stability evaluation of products for possible approval of unrefrigerated storage.  Please contact phicomments@denvergov.org for more details.

On September 12, DDPHE also hosted an informational meeting for Denver area cannabis industry professionals to provide information on inspection processes, public health investigations, product ingredients and hemp-derived products. View the presentation.

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. 

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.

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 CBD 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 CBD 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 policy and CDPHE’s wholesale food registration website. Find more information on obtaining a Denver wholesale food manufacturing license.

 

Manufacturers of consumable CBD 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 Consideration” tab above for information on refrigeration requirements for certain consumable cannabis products.

 

CONTACT US
 

200 W 14th Ave. 3rd Floor 
Denver, CO 80204 
720-865-5401 (To be connected to PHI Main Line)
Fax: 720-865-5534 
phicomments@denvergov.org

 

NEED HELP
 

Denver 311 Help Center Call 3-1-1
Outside Denver Call 720-913-1311
Emergencies: 911 
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