The State’s Cannabis Policy office discuss contaminates found in medical cannabis

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 4:45 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine’s Office of Cannabis Policy discussed the different contaminates that can be found in cannabis at a virtual meeting today.

Currently, adult use cannabis in the state undergoes mandatory testing for foreign materials, molds and mildews, heavy metals, and more.

But, they say medical cannabis is not subjected to mandatory testing.

Of 127 medical cannabis samples recently tested, they say they found 57 samples failed for at least one contaminant.

John Hudak, Director of the Office of Cannabis Policy, says they have tried to implement mandatory testing for medical marijuana but failed due to push back from the medical marijuana community and the legislature.

While they are not able to share which establishments had samples that tested positive for contaminants due to state statute, he says people should be empowered to ask those questions.

“There are some medical cannabis companies in the state who voluntarily test their cannabis for contaminants, and patients can go into stores and ask for COA’s a certificate of analysis that shows whether and for what that cannabis is being tested for, and that’s an important part of consumer protection and consumer information especially given the the sort of stalemate we have right now in policy,” Hudak said.

“People who need to treat medical symptoms expect the substances they call medicines to work and to be safe enough. They don’t expect there to be pesticides, heavy metals like arsenic, fungus, butane, and other contaminates in the medicine they buy, smoke or rub on their skin,” Dr. Patricia Hymanson, a neurologist, said.

The most common contaminants that caused failed testing in the cannabis samples are yeast and mold, pestidices, and harmful microbes.

Dr. Hymanson says that could cause short term effects like dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and headaches.

More long-term effects could be cancer, hormone disruptions, confusion and numbness.