US (AZ): Tainted MMJ was sold to patients, state didn't catch it

A high-end cannabis company sold contaminated cannabis to Arizona medical card holders last year, a mistake that highlights glaring weaknesses in the state's testing rules designed to protect consumers. Arizona requires cannabis to be tested before it's sold. A law that took effect more than a year ago is supposed to ensure cannabis is screened for pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants like E. coli bacteria.

But tests paid for by The Arizona Republic on cannabis bought from a Phoenix dispensary showed a problem. Two strains of cannabis from a company called Grow Sciences showed levels of one pesticide at more than 20 times the limit allowed by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The state's cannabis testing rules grant a high level of trust both to growers and the labs that examine the crops, a Republic investigation found.

Experts say the lack of state testing and other safeguards could allow unscrupulous growers to provide laboratories clean samples that don't represent the product that goes to market. Lax oversight also could encourage growers to shop around for passing test results or to send their cannabis to labs that show the highest potency for their products. 


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