Seeing 20/20

The irony behind patients protesting cannabis shops

There are times and places that you expect to see protests; for instance, when a dispensary is raided, you expect to see people demonstrations calling for safe access & common sense regulations. However, a recent story from Denver about a protest on May 30th at LivWell, an open dispensary, becomes more interesting when you learn who is behind it. Most people would assume that this is a group against marijuana, however, it was a pro cannabis consumer advocacy group called Cannabis Consumer Coalition.

The organization is fairly new in the industry, as it launched in April 2014. The CCC claims to be the world’s first cannabis consumer protection group. Larisa Bolivar, the founder and executive director, said that one of the reasons she started the group was to bring fairness and transparency to the market.

After seeing evidence that LivWell used Eagle 20 fungicide on their crops, Bolivar knew she had to act. She selected one of busiest of the nine locations that LivWell has – the Broadway location in the district known as Denver’s Green Mile – and scheduled the demonstration on a sunny Saturday between 1 and 3pm; one of their busiest times. Bolivar said, “Generally, it went well, although some of the customers didn’t understand why they were picketing. One customer even said, ‘Where else can you find a $15 quarter?’ I was told by a patient that it’s $80 for an ounce there, begging the question: do you get what you pay for? Or, could you be getting more than you even agreed to?” Larisa told me that some of the shops on her list for upcoming protests would even openly call their product organic despite the use of Eagle 20 on their crops.

Damage from using Eagle 20

Damage from using Eagle 20

Bolivar’s passion for helping others is overwhelmingly apparent in her work. She may even be a force to help bring truth in advertising to the cannabis market. Denver city officials, after consulting with state agriculture inspectors and the EPA, placed a “hold” on approximately 60,000 plants at a single grow facility in a Denver LivWell. Even the state approved labs still do not test the vast majority of marijuana for dangerous contaminants. The plan is to get the testing done. Colorado officials initially said their pesticide and mold testing would begin in the middle of last year, and then again early this year. However, this mandatory testing is still not in place and there’s no clear indication of when it will actually be implemented. Marijuana “flower” – the buds most people are familiar with – is only tested for potency.

The label of Eagle 20

The label of Eagle 20

Eagle 20 is a product of Michigan-based Dow AgroSciences, a corporation currently working with the Michigan legislature to develop laws that would mandate cannabis lab testing. Eagle 20 is not currently approved by the EPA for either marijuana or tobacco crops.

In Michigan, we will have to wait and see what rules and regulations are handed to us by the Legislature. Bolivar says that cannabis testing labs can’t test the final product to see if it has had Eagle 20 used on it. In the mean time, however, she will continue to post her Dispensary Blacklist on the cannabis consumers coalition website.

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