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Maine Medical Cannabis Programme Needs Overhaul As Report Reveals Contaiminated Products

A new report from Maine’s Office of Cannabis Management has revelead that 42% of tested medical cannabis products contained one or more contaminants, putting the State’s 106,000 medical cannabis patients at risk.

The failure of safety testing has led to calls in the report for an overhaul and modernisation of Maine’s Medical Cannabis Program that began in 1999.

For the testing, a total of 120 product samples were colleced from registered care givers and dispensaries.

The report reveals that, as testing in the state is voluntary in Maine’s Medical Use of Cannabis Program (MMCP), rather than mandatory, these products would have failed mandatory safety testing.

While a number of samples failed testing for more than one contaminant, the report shows that some samples failed testing for multiple contaminants within a given analyte category:

  • 30 individual samples failed for yeast and mould
  • 21 individual samples failed for pesticides
  • 3 individual samples failed for heavy metals
  • 1 individual sample failed for filth and foreign materials

Maine has seen discussions around the need for mandatory testing in the state which launched its medical cannabis programme, when testing was not the norm. The report highlights that these discussions have often “included disinformation about cannabis product testing and its accuracy, and have lacked reliable, rigorous, and sound data on contamination in Maine’s medical cannabis supply chain.”

The report aims to bring solid data to this ongoing conversation, as well as “fill information gaps around the impacts of cannabis contaminants and the requirements for certified cannabis testing facilities (CTFs) to operate and become licensed in Maine.”

In light of this, it puts forward several policy changes for the reform and modernisation of Maine’s medical cannabis programme, including:

  • Inventory tracking for addressing contaminated products in the supply chain.
  • An authority for OCP to seize and destroy contaminated cannabis.
  • And overhaul of confidentiality protections for programme participants that prevent OCP from disclosing which businesses were found to have contaminated products.

The report states: “Maine’s Medical Use of Cannabis Program (MMCP) falls critically short of national standards around mandatory contaminant testing, which puts the state’s most vulnerable medical patients at risk of complicating their medical conditions and experiencing symptoms of contamination that can be mistaken for symptoms associated with their condition.”

And goes on to say: “…multiple reforms are necessary to modernise Maine’s medical cannabis programme. The medical cannabis statute in Maine is woefully out of date relative to the commercialized nature of Maine’s medical cannabis programme today and the standards that have developed across the country since Maine initially legalised medical cannabis in 1999.

“Identifying harmful contaminants in the medical cannabis supply chain is important, but absent the tools to do anything about such findings and/or remove them from the supply chain, the impacts of testing are limited at best.”

To read the full report please visit: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/ocp/resources/reports

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