Friday, September 29, 2023

Illicit Pot: More Dangerous Than You Thought

Study Finds Pesticides in Most Illegal Weed


A new study highlights one of the most important reasons that cannabis consumers should always buy state-regulated pot. It found that over 90 percent of illicit cannabis contained pesticides that were largely absent from legal weed.

New Mexico has seen at least two dispensaries shut down by the state’s Cannabis Control Division (CCD) for allegedly selling out-of-state weed in recent months. Regulators say there’s no way to tell exactly where these products come from or whether they were produced according to the state’s requirements.

Some consumers may think that buying illicit cannabis is no big deal or even prefer its tax-free status, but buying and selling illicit cannabis can actually result in health issues for consumers.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, looked at 36 marijuana samples from licensed Canadian retailers and 24 illicit samples that were seized by police. The scientists found that only six percent of the legal weed tested positive for harmful pesticides with only two residues detected. Meanwhile, a whopping 92 percent of the illicit samples tested positive and 23 unique pesticide active ingredients with 3.7 different pesticides were found.

The study’s authors noted that it’s the first of its kind and that it illustrates the need for regulatory agencies to use more advanced methods of pesticide residue detection like the ones that the researchers demonstrated.

They also pointed out that it proves that government talking points about regulated weed are actually right.

“Albeit being a small study, our results do support the Government of Canada messaging where ‘Consuming illegal products could lead to adverse effects and other serious harms,’” the authors wrote.

Last month, the Second Judicial District Court in Bernalillo County issued an injunction against Sawmill Sweet Leaf dispensary for allegedly selling illicit marijuana products that were believed to have come from California. The store was also allegedly manufacturing its own extracts without a license. The first offense could have exposed customers to poisonous chemicals. The second could have literally blown them up.

The state also revoked the license of Albuquerque dispensary Paradise Exotics Distro in July after CCD compliance officers found products with labels from California. The dispensary was also alleged to have been carrying products that were not properly documented on the required shipping manifests and inaccurately reporting sales data, including more than $56,000 in cash and $8,338 in additional funds that weren’t reported to the state.

New Mexico cannabis consumers have to be on the lookout for unapproved products. It’s becoming clear that a few bad actors came along with last year’s Green Rush that brought so many new dispensaries to the state. All state-regulated products will come with a clearly visible label that lets consumers know that it's safe.


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