Nearly half of the medical cannabis commercially available in Maine is tainted with yeast, mold, pesticides, or some other contaminant, according to a new report from the state Office of Cannabis Policy.
The office released a 49-page summary of its research and findings, which discovered that out of 120 medical cannabis samples, 50 failed state safety testing required for recreational marijuana. That’s 42% of products that failed, the agency stated.
“This data indicate that Maine’s medical cannabis program needs a comprehensive solution to reform and modernize the system in order to protect Maine’s patients,” John Hudak, director of the OCP, said in a statement.
“Our primary goal is to protect and empower patients, and we remain concerned that the lack of mandatory testing in Maine’s medical cannabis program puts the state’s 106,000 medical cannabis patients at risk each day of complicating their medical conditions and experiencing symptoms of contamination that can be mistaken for symptoms associated with their condition,” Hudak said.
The samples were collected in August and included 101 different cross sections of flower, 18 vape cartridges, and one edible, collected from 112 registered caregivers and eight dispensaries. The state has a total of 1,799 caregivers and 64 dispensaries as of October, according to the OCP.
The testing failures ran the gamut, with some failing for multiple contaminants. In total, there were 30 failures for yeast and mold, 26 for pesticides, four for heavy metals and one for “filth and foreign materials,” according to the OCP report.
Out of the prohibited pesticides found, the most common was myclobutanil, which “releases cyanide gas upon combustion and causes a range of mild to severe effects when inhaled,” the OCP reported. One of the MMJ samples that failed was found to have 293 times the pass-fail threshold for the substance.