In a Show of Profound Integrity, MMJ America Reaches Out to the Cannabis Consumers Coalition and Clears the Smoke of Pesticide Violation
The mission of the Cannabis Consumers Coalition is to provide cannabis consumers with a voice in the growing cannabis industry to ensure consumer rights and ethical behavior on behalf of cannabis related businesses. A critical component in rating a business as ethical is integrity. Last week, the Cannabis Consumers Coalition released the names nine businesses who had received pesticide use violations from the Denver Department of Environmental Health. Showing profound integrity, Jake Salazar, CEO of MMJ America, reached out to the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, and explained the situation surrounding the violation, invited Executive Director, Larisa Bolivar, to the facility that received the violation, and submitted to the coalition the letters describing and resolving the situation.
It turns out that what happened to MMJ America is what all employers dread, employees flouting rules and operating procedures, and then retaliating when they get in trouble. In this case, the said employee was experimenting with Eagle 20 on 99 clones. The employee, already in trouble for not following operating procedures for growing and using her own mixture of nutrients, was reprimanded, and eventually terminated. In retaliation, she called the health department, which resulted in the quarantine of the clones, during which MMJ America voluntarily destroyed the clones. Violations are often reported by employees, and some of them are indeed valid and not just from disgruntled employees. The Cannabis Consumers Coalition sent an open records request to the Colorado branch of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to determine if there are more employee complaints and the nature of the complaints, however, they have yet to respond.
“We came forward to the Cannabis Consumers Coalition because it’s important that they know the whole story. We had an issue here with a very manipulative ex-employee that we were very upfront with.” In regards to best practices and pesticide use, Jake goes on to say, “We as a company are looking forward to spending more time with them [Cannabis Consumers Coalition] on these issues to help better the industry for consumers and for businesses.”
The Cannabis Consumers Coalition is impressed with MMJ America as an organization. The plants are very healthy, and the organization uses many natural methods, such as predator bugs and dehumidifiers, to keep bugs, mold, and mildew at bay. The grow facility toured by the Cannabis Consumers Coalition was very clean and very well maintained. Jake is a very personable person and holds high standards for his business and for consumers. The Cannabis Consumers Coalition was so impressed with the operations and the openness and honesty that Jake exhibited, that MMJ America was invited to become Consumer Approved Merchant Partner™, which shows consumers that the business meets standards set forth in ethical business guidelines created by the coalition.
“As I walked in the door, I was greeted by a ladybug, and as silly as it sounds, I took it as a good sign, as well as an immediate confirmation that the business was using natural means to control pests. I was already impressed by the fact that Jake reached out to talk to me, no other business has,” states Larisa Bolivar. She continues, “I believe that integrity is the most important quality that a person or a business can have, and Jake and MMJ America have upheld that very basic standard that should be second nature in relationships. Because of that, I am confident that the organization and its leaders are doing the right thing by consumers.”
Incidents like this underscore the need for all businesses to be up to date on their standard operating procedures, and that the industry as a whole needs to develop best practices for a host of business practices ranging from management to production. Because MMJ America has a well-run operation, employees were able to determine that the violating grower was not using the nutrient and pesticide protocols followed by other growers and were proactive in reporting the incident.
It is possible for consumers and businesses to work together to create an industry that meets everyone’s needs. MMJ America and the Cannabis Consumers Coalition working together also shows that the industry is self-regulating, and that while some government oversight is needed in a market, businesses and consumer organizations can work to set standards and best practices by holding each other accountable, and then showing integrity when things are in question by being transparent and cooperative. There will no doubt be growing pains well into the next decade as the industry expands and matures. How businesses and consumers work through these pains now will set the precedent for how they are worked out for decades to come, and there is no better way to do that than through understanding and relationship building.
For more information, please contact Larisa Bolivar, 703-244-4857