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Moldy NJ Curaleaf Medical Cannabis Bought from Rise Dispensary Found

A New Jersey medical cannabis patient found mold inside NJ Curaleaf cannabis he bought from Rise dispensary in Paterson.

Moldy Cannabis Bought At Rise Found In Personal Stash

The patient, named Carlos, who preferred not to divulge his last name, bought a strain called Banana Foster from Rise in Paterson, NJ, which they had bought wholesale from NJ Curaleaf. Carlos said it seemed repackaged.

He said that mold was growing or had grown inside the cannabis flower. Moisture likely became trapped inside the flower, which caused the mold to form. Carlos said it only takes a day for mold to begin growing on cannabis and also other vegetation.

The bottle said it was packaged on December 22nd. Carlos said he found the mold around the 23rd.

Flower Issues

Carlos believes it was repackaged since NJ Curaleaf flower normally comes in a bag instead of a bottle. It was strange there was mold in a recently packaged bottle.  He only found the mold halfway through smoking it.

“When I called them and said I smoked half of this and found this bud full of mold, the girl at the desk said … I’m sure it’s fine,” Carlos recounted.  “They told me I could bring it back and exchange or get my money back.”

He said that the moldy NJ Curaleaf cannabis caused him to cough a lot. Carlos called his medical cannabis prescribing doctor, who said he needed to get a blood test. However, finding a specialist to test for mold in his blood was difficult, so he did not pursue it further.

“I’ve been coughing ever since, more than normal when I smoke,” he said. Carlos also reported getting a headache from it.

He reached out to NJ Curaleaf but never heard back from them.  

Moldy Cannabis Problems

Carlos said his best luck was with cannabis delivered by NJ Green Direct.

“This is more of a reason why people should be able to grow their own,” Carlos said. “I never had moldy weed before.

He said if you have mold where you’re growing, the mold spores will also be spread by a fan.

“The manager at Rise told me that they have had a lot of problems with Curaleaf bud, and I wasn’t the first complaint, and Curaleaf has a reputation like that,” Carlos said.

He has been a medical cannabis patient for a year.

“I used to go to Harmony and never had a problem,” Carlos said. However, he lamented it has become very crowded.

NJDOH Steps In

NJDOH Assistant Commissioner for Medicinal Marijuana Jeff Brown said in an email regarding moldy cannabis, “If a patient was dispensed product with mold on it, it would be a clear regulatory violation of NJAC 8:64-10.7,” which regulates medical cannabis. The statute reads,

Ҥ 8:64-10.7 Processing and packaging of marijuana

(a) An ATC shall process marijuana in a safe and sanitary manner to protect registered qualifying patients from adulterated marijuana and shall process the dried leaves and flowers of the female marijuana plant only, which shall be:

1. Well-cured and free of seeds and stems;

2. Free of dirt, sand, debris, or other foreign matter; and

3. Free of mold, rot, or other fungus or bacterial diseases.”

Testing

“When the state lab tests cannabis, there is a visual inspection for mold or other foreign matter,” Brown explained. “We test for aflatoxin and mycotoxin, which are bi-products of certain molds.  Additionally, our inspectors are on-site at least monthly to do inspections of cultivation operations to ensure compliance with all rules, including 8:64-10.7.”

“If a patient believes there is mold on their product, they should report it to us at the Department so that we can investigate,” he added.

“Curaleaf stands by the quality of our products, and we implement strict quality assurance inspections and protocols prior to our product being packaged and sold,” a spokesperson for Curaleaf said. “This is an isolated incident, and we have not received any other complaints about this product. If the patient can reach out to us, we’d be happy to provide them with a credit or exchange.”

NJ Curaleaf Issues

This was not the first time the quality of medical cannabis in New Jersey was problematic.

Curaleaf’s New Jersey operation is said to have exorbitant costs for the quality of the product available. The federal government also fined them for labor law violations. The problem is worse than it seems since they supply other dispensaries in New Jersey.

Curaleaf is currently supplying Rise in Paterson with cannabis. Additionally, Curaleaf also grows and provides medical cannabis flower to Garden State Dispensary, now under the ownership and operation of Ayr Wellness. They run their cannabis dispensaries as Ayr New Jersey.

A cannabis science expert, though not a doctor, said the severity of the issue depends on what type or types of mold the person ingested, quantity/concentration of that mold, and mode of ingestion, all paired up against the person’s immune system. Swallowed or inhaled could be an issue for a person. If inhaled, it can be serious and lead to severe health issues like pneumonia.

Mold on cannabis can be very concentrated. There are different varieties of mold, including Aspergillus, Botrytis, Penicillium, and Cladosporium. Powdery mildew impacting cannabis late in the flower stages can also ruin a crop.

He recommended individuals that do experience issues with moldy cannabis should also speak with their primary care physician.

The issue was first brought to light by the Garden State Cannabis Crew Facebook and Instagram account.

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