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Missouri Regulators Investigate Cannabis Mold Claim, Following Launch of Medical Sales

Oct 22, 2020

Missouri Regulators Investigate Cannabis Mold Claim, Following Launch of Medical Sales

State authorities in Missouri have launched and now concluded an investigation following a complaint that a particular medical cannabis product purchased at a licensed dispensary contained mold.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) initially halted sales of the remaining products from the relevant batch.


One complaint from St, Louis, Missouri

In a statement on Tuesday, October 20, the DHSS announced that the batch of medical cannabis in question had passed all required testing prior to its sale. An initial visual inspection of the remaining product also didn’t raise any concerns with the state authority.

Nonetheless, additional laboratory testing was carried out to determine the source of the mold.

In a news release on Thursday, October 22, the DHSS confirmed that these tests didn't find any evidence that the product batch presented a health and safety concern. The investigation has since been concluded. 

Over 200 individuals purchased the particular cannabis product over the weekend, according to the state department, all of whom were initially notified not to consume the cannabis until the investigation was completed.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the facilities in this investigation,” Lyndall Fraker, director of the DHSS’ Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation, said in a statement.  “Their quick action and willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure patient safety is encouraging.”


Under closer inspection

As first reported by the Springfield News-Leader, the medical marijuana at issue was sold by an N'Bliss cannabis dispensary in the St. Louis region of Missouri.

The actual cultivator of the product, Archimedes, later told the News-Leader that, following the complaint, the company further tested the relevant cannabis samples, but found no fault on mycotoxin levels.

“The samples that were taken from N’Bliss as well as the representative sample taken from the harvest batch have tested below the allowable threshold for mycotoxins,” a company representative told the News-Leader. “The patient’s returned product, including the single bud that was in question, also passed the mycotoxin tests.”

Mycotoxins can pose a serious threat to human health if ingested. Exposure to the key mycotoxins, which include aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, and G2, has been linked to kidney damage and related cancers.


Medical marijuana in Missouri

Missouri’s medical cannabis market only opened this month, two years after state residents voted to legalize marijuana for medical use.

At least ten licenses have since been issued to cannabis testing facilities in the state. Under the state’s initial testing rules, concentrations of mycotoxins are limited to 20 micrograms per kilogram of cannabis material.

Licensed labs are also required to test for contaminants including microbials, chemical residues, heavy metals, residual solvents, foreign matter, water activity, and moisture content. However, according to a company official from EKG Labs – the first cannabis testing lab in Missouri to pass state inspection – state authorities don’t yet require a total yeast and mold count.

In an email to the News-Leader, Natalie Brown, the director of operations at EKG Labs’ parent company, said that “the state does not require to test for mold as many other states do.”

“I believe DHSS is working on something for the future to make it a requirement, but as of now, there is nothing stated in the rules for that specific test. We are equipped to test for mold if cultivators or manufacturers want that specific testing.”

According to the DHSS, no adverse reactions have yet been reported from the 200 or so individuals who purchased the N’Bliss product, but anyone who does experience an adverse reaction should seek medical attention and should notify the department


This article was updated on October 23 following the DHSS' announcement that the mold investigation had concluded.

 

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