Last week we told you about At Home Baked, a Colorado marijuana edibles company, being forced to recall their product because health inspectors had an issue with their extraction process. Namely: the old washing machine they were using to make large batches of icewater hash. Now co-owner A.J. “Hashman” Ashkar, says he isn’t sure why he’s been singled out and that he was operating a clean, safe environment. Further, he says that Public Health Inspections had no prevue over his operations – that job is up to the state Marijuana Enforcement Division. And finally, he says he isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary – everyone uses repurposed washing machines in the industry.
“We don’t see the appropriate connection between the concentrate we’re making and food,” Ashkar says. “We kept the washing machine in a separate room from the kitchen.”
At Home Baked shares a state marijuana license with Denver medical dispensary Advanced Medical Alternatives, which features At Home Baked products on its online menu. Westword cannabis critic William Breathes tried out At Home Baked’s brownie mix for a 2012 edition of the Chronicle and gave it favorable reviews.
Ashkar says his company follows every procedure required by the Marijuana Enforcement Division and takes the necessary steps to ensure the quality of his concentrates.
“All of our hash is dried and cured” to help eliminate impurities, he says. “The next step we do, which is even more extensive– we heat it for a period of time to kill any contaminants and bacteria, so it doesn’t get to added our food.”
DDEH inspectors view hash-infused edible manufacturers under the same scrutiny as restaurants, so although making hash in a washing machine might be fine under MED standards, city food inspectors say otherwise. Not only was using a home-washing machine a violation in DDEH’s view, but the department says the device was covered in visible health risks.
Read more about those risks and Ashkar’s side of things over at Denver Westword.