Mississippi health officials ordered more than two-thirds of the medical marijuana products currently on the market be retested for safety, following an anonymous tip that claimed many of the goods were tainted with pesticides.
According to the Magnolia Tribune, the state Department of Health put an administrative hold on about 70% of available medical cannabis goods. All of the products were tested by the same lab, Rapid Analytics. A representative of the lab told the Tribune that the concerns were “baseless,” asserting that its methods are sound.
Regardless, the state decided to take no chances, and issued the hold on Dec. 21, before updating it a week later with more details. The circumstances surrounding the hold are still under investigation, the department said.
All of the products tested by Rapid Analytics are being retested to ensure their safety, according to a press release from the Department of Health, specifically to “validate results related to the use of pesticides and presence of mycotoxins.”
No illnesses by medical marijuana patients have been reported, the agency clarified, and as soon as products are cleared by the retesting process, they’ll be made available for sale again.
“Through the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system, the agency can isolate the batch and lot numbers associated with this administrative hold and expedite the retesting. The tracking system is an invaluable tool to assist with regulatory compliance and overall product safety,” Laura Goodson, director of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program, said in a release.
The Tribune reported that 9,814 medical marijuana products – about 20% of the state’s entire inventory – is still available for sale. Those goods were tested by the only other marijuana lab in the state, Steep Hill Mississippi, which itself faced concerns not long ago about supposedly tainted smokable hemp products being sold in gas stations.
The latest incident reinforces the need for more cannabis testing labs in Mississippi to serve the state’s 391-company supply chain, which includes nearly 200 dispensaries and more than 130 cultivation facilities, said Mike Watkins, the executive director of the Mississippi Independent Cannabis Association.
At least two labs still have license applications pending before the state, Watkins said, and there are only 10 dispensaries in the state that have been unaffected by the retesting order and the product hold.