NEW YORK (PIX11) — Marijuana purchased at unlicensed dispensaries in New York City was tainted with E. coli, salmonella, heavy metals and pesticides, a new report released Wednesday found.
The New York Medical Marijuana Cannabis Industry Association had cannabis products bought at more than 20 unlicensed dispensaries tested at a third-party lab. About 40% of the products failed at least one test. Beyond problems with the cannabis itself, more than 50% of the dispensaries did not ask the buyer for ID.
“The report’s findings are deeply troubling and highlight the tremendous risks posed by unscrupulous firms operating above the law,” NYMCIA President Ngiste Abebe said. “New York has a responsibility to not only protect the health and safety of its residents but also to fulfill the promise of a socially equitable adult-use market. Neither goal can be realized without stricter enforcement against bad actors.”
Much of the marijuana purchased also did not have the same amount of THC as advertised, the NYMCIA report found. One purchase had double the amount of listed THC.
Office of Cannabis Management spokesperson Aaron Ghitelman said the report reiterates what state officials have said about illicit operators. He called for the sales at unlicensed dispensaries to stop right away.
“In the coming weeks, the first licensed adult-use sales from retail dispensaries will begin, providing consumers with products tested for a wide array of potentially harmful elements, including heavy metals, e-coli, aspergillus, and other contaminants in line with practices in other states,” Ghitelman said. “There is no comparison between the safety of cannabis sold illicitly in these unlicensed storefronts and what will line the shelves of legal regulated adult-use dispensaries.”