Welp, before we could even blink, our worst fears came to fruition: an Arizona medical marijuana grower was caught with dangerous amounts of mold on their flower.
This all started when AZ Family ran a piece on Encanto Green Cross Dispensary. They toured the grow-house, spoke with the cultivators, and everything seemed to be up-to-par.
That is, until former employees of Encanto reached out to the news site alerting them to an alleged mold problem in the growhouse. In fact, two known employees were let-go based on their concerns over moldy weed.
This motivated AZ Family to return, purchase flower, and have it tested at an independent testing facility.
What did they find?
One strain, in particular, had too much mold to test. (However, they did estimate it at over 300,000 CFU). These levels are alarming for anyone with a compromised immune system.. In fact, medical journals have documented cases where MMJ patients contracted fungal pneumonia from smoking moldy weed.
How is it legal for our medication to be contaminated?
Luckily for Encanto, Arizona has no legal limit set on the amount of mold allowed on medical marijuana. This means our trust is placed solely on the people supplying our medication… And if we know anything about businesses, it’s that they never try to take advantage of the consumer.. Right??
According to the dispensary owner, he will “absolutely not” remove any of the contaminated cannabis. Why? Because “there’s no evidence or proof that we have a mold problem”.
Essentially, he brushed the test-results aside touting they weren’t “certified”, despite the fact that the lab worked with the Arizona Department of Health Services in the past.
Who did he suggest we trust? Their hired internal lab-testing. Conveniently, Arizona state law also allows them to hide the results from the public. (No, I’m not joking)
“I’m the one authorized by the State of Arizona by a dispensary agent card to cultivate on behalf of the patients. You are not.”
Unfortunately, this goes back to the point of our last post:
Like I said, Arizona is one of the few states with legal marijuana to not set a limit on mold. Colorado and Washington, for example, have set the “safe to sell” limit at “Under 10,000 CFU”. This means 3 out of the 4 strains tested from Encanto would be illegal to sell. The 300,000 CFU sample is probably enough to study as it’s own ecosystem, but definitely not safe to consume.
Let me take this moment to remind you all: Marijuana is only legal in Arizona as a health care option. That being said, you cannot use “profit” as an excuse. At the end of the day, it is still within the Healthcare industry.
What would the AZDHS do if they caught a vendor selling moldy Insulin? There would be serious consequences.
But what can we do to help?
In summary, we need to take it upon ourselves to be responsible for our own medication.
A “budtender” will have no idea on the contaminate profile of your marijauna.
Does it make sense to have to test every batch of medication you purchase?
I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s unrealistic to expect consumers to test their products for safety. Encanto’s response sounds like someone who is avoiding the actual problem and finding blame.
This is why we need state reform on current policies to better equip Arizona (and other states). We should not feel unsafe using our medication.