Late last week, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) on Jan. 26 issued a mandatory recall for cannabis contaminated with Aspergillus niger. 

The cannabis impacted by the recall is one specific batch of the strain Head Banger from Clayborne Co. It was sold all over California from Nov. 2, 2021 until Jan. 26, 2022, in a variety of sizes. The batch number associated with the recall is 28090621HB.

The DCC told consumers if they did purchase the product, they should dispose of it or return it to retailers. All of those retailers, in addition to any other licensee who has it in their inventory, have been contracted by the state. According to the announcement a total of 40 retailers sold the contaminated batch. 

Eleven stores in Los Angeles made up the highest concentration of dispensaries that carried the affected batch. Additionally, L.A. had nearly double the number of dispensaries selling the product compared to the second-highest concentration in San Diego.

Here is everywhere that carried the batch around L.A.:

  • The Marijuana Factory – 9155 N Deering Ave., Chatsworth CA 95311
  • Sunrise Caregiver Foundation, LLC – 22865 Lockness Ave., Torrance CA 90501
  • Cannary West – 2435 Military Ave., Los Angeles CA 90064
  • California Alternative Caregivers – 122 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291
  • Natural Remedies Caregivers – 927 1/2 North Western Ave., Los Angeles CA 90029
  • MMD North Hollywood – 4720 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood CA 91602
  • Green Cross of Torrance – 1658 Carson St. W, A-C, Torrance CA 90501
  • 4th Street Collective, Inc. – 1248 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach CA 90813
  • Fountain of Wellbeing Inc. (Delivery)                                          
  • GE United Technologies, LLC (Delivery)                        
  • Ganjarunner (Delivery)

The DCC also emphasized if you smoked any of the affected cannabis and feel sick, you should consult your doctor immediately. The state also emphasized that The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has noted most people are exposed to Aspergillus spores on a daily basis without getting sick. 

But, on some occasions, people come down with a form of aspergillosis, a fungal disease associated with exposure. These include allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, which can cause wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, and in some cases a fever. Other versions of aspergillosis can lead to a variety of other symptoms. Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis is associated with weight loss, coughing up blood, fatigue. According to the CDC, there were nearly 15,000 aspergillosis-related hospitalizations in 2014 that cost an estimated $1.2 billion dollars.

We reached out to one of the godfathers of modern cannabis laboratory science to get his take. Addison DeMoura co-founded the world’s first cannabis analytical lab Steep Hill in 2007; we asked if he was surprised to see the contaminated product make it into 40 shops? 

“I mean honestly, it all brings up the reason why I got out of testing. Because there’s so much human error that none of the companies want to admit to because it makes them look like they don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s part of science,” DeMoura told L.A. Weekly. “So the sad thing about all of it is that all the stuff they’re doing right now, like the state stepping up and setting new standards and they’re still given bullshit. It’s just the worst part about all that is, that the science, cannabis science, is presented on the outside like it’s perfect, but on the inside, it’s not.” 

DeMoura notes one of the reasons he got into hash is because of the lack of bullshit. You can’t fake it with hash; if the starting material isn’t perfect, it will be clear in the end product. “Quartz doesn’t lie,” DeMoura said. 

But come 2023, the state will take some of the mystery out of the lab testing game with mandated standardized operating procedures for labs. A lot of the “proprietary knowledge” across the space is just how much labs tweak their hardware to pump out the highest THC numbers possible. 

DeMoura called the forthcoming guidelines a starting point 

“I think it’s that’s kind of what it’s considered to be,” DeMoura said, “So it’ll help get the party started and hopefully good labs being honest when they do make mistakes.”


LA Weekly