Nevada cannabis industry sees second pesticide recall this year

Photo of commercial cannabis cultivation.

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) issued a public warning that cannabis sold last month was grown using an unapproved pesticide. They found seven batches of cannabis flower treated with Ethephon (Florel Brand). Contaminated packages were sold between March 23rd and April 21st across eight dispensaries.

Ethephon is used to ripen fruits, promote the natural detachment of plant parts like dead leaves or ripe fruit.. The product was invented in 1965 and registered as a pesticide in the U.S. in 1973. In 1995 the Environmental Protection Agency reported that the pesticide had the “potential to cause severe skin and eye irritation (Toxicity Category I), but otherwise is moderately acutely toxic” but deemed it otherwise safe to use on food and feed crops.

In 2019, the European Food Safety Authority conducted a peer review of findings from the Netherlands and the U.K. regarding the safety of Ethephon. The study concluded that Ethephon “is considered harmful after acute oral and inhalation administration, and toxic after acute dermal exposure; its strong acidic properties (pH < 2) lead to being corrosive for the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.” The Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir banned the pesticide in 2017.

This is the second instance of Florel brand Ethephon found in Nevada cultivation sites this year. Products from Clark Natural Medicine Solutions sold between August 2022 and January 2023 were treated with the pesticide, triggering a consumer recall.

In both bulletins, sent months apart, the CCB stated that Ethephon isn’t a required pesticide to test for. If cultivations opted to test their product for it anyway, Nevada cannabis labs aren’t set up to detect Ethephon in samples.

Instances of undetected pesticides making it onto dispensary shelves are going up, and regulations haven’t been adjusted. At this point in the market, consumers must do their own research. Iin order to trust the brand that grows and manufactures its cannabis products, consumers must do their own research.

Nevada consumers can check their cannabis against batch recall numbers here.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.