Medical Cannabis With Mold Sold in Arizona

Written by Cara Wietstock

EDIT [1/11/17]: The samples were tested for yeast and mold at Delte Verde Laboratories and not Desert Valley Testing as previously reported.

Lab Tests Reveals Medical Cannabis Sold with Mold in Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), or Proposition 203, passed with the most narrow of margins in 2010. Since then, the medical cannabis program in the Southwestern state has developed rapidly. Patient cards can cost upwards of $300 and dispensary agents input every hundredth of a gram purchased into a state database. Despite these rigid seed-to-sale tracking systems, there are currently no laws in place that a cultivation must test their medical cannabis flowers before they go to market. This may change, however, after a recent report by Derek Staahl uncovered a severe mold problem at Encanto Green Cross in Phoenix.

medical cannabis

Image Source: CBS5

This Fall, Arizona Family toured their facility in Phoenix. After their report aired former employees reached out claiming that the team missed something. Former employees of the cultivation and dispensary came out about issues with mold on cannabis that they had seen at the state-licensed cultivation. Two employees in particular provided emails and testimony about mold present both at the multiple sites in the cultivation and in the actual flowers that they were trimming. This inspired the investigative team to jump into action.

While high amounts of mold shouldn’t be burnt and inhaled by anyone, it is especially important that patients with autoimmune diseases or otherwise compromised immune systems don’t inhale these contaminants. Arizona Family, sponsored by CBS 5, sent a licensed Arizona Medical Marijuana (AZMMJ) patient out to purchase four separate samples of cannabis flowers from Encanto. The samples were then monitored and delivered to Delta Verde Laboratory for yeast and mold testing.

What they found was concerning, three out of the four tests exceeded mold threshold standards of 10,000 colony-forming units per gram. Though there is still no “universally accepted standard” for how much mold is safe for a patient, these are the standards set in recreational cannabis states like Colorado and Washington. When the investigative news team showed Encanto managing partner Bill Brothers the results, he simply dismissed them. He also cited that Encanto Green Cross had no ethical or legal obligation to pull any of the product.

Brothers deflected the test results stating that there isn’t any way to know if the results are valid. They also provided results from visual inspection tests that the dispensary ordered from C4 Laboratories. However, the visual inspection, completed using a microscope, is not a reliable one for detecting mold at actionable levels. Brothers also stated that they do their own in-house testing of flower alongside the results from the independent testing lab. Despite Brothers’ confidence in their product, another cannabis testing lab did find issues with mold in flower sold in their dispensary after completing a full microbial analysis.

Come to a conclusion on your own, read the full report by Derek Staahl here on the Arizona Family website.


About the author

Cara Wietstock

Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the plant have brought her to Terpenes and Testing magazine. She now helps keep us on the cutting edge of scientific cannabis discovery as the Editor-in-Chief of the print publication.

Leave a Comment