On October 26th, 2022, the Colorado Department of Revenue issued a Health and Safety Advisory after identifying potentially unsafe levels of yeast, mold, and aspergillus in close to 200 batches of medical cannabis from a dispensary in Colorado Springs. The advisory was issued in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Since the levels exceeded what’s acceptable according to the Colorado Marijuana Rule 4-115, the two bodies deemed this as a threat to public health and safety.
According to the DOR,the dispensary failed to submit batches of marijuana for testing in accordance with the stipulated MED Rule series (4-100). Upon retesting, the DOR found that close to 200 batches tested way above the acceptable limits for total yeast, mold, and aspergillus.
Fungus in marijuana usually occurs as a result of improper storage. Humid storage conditions will trigger mold and other fungus. When fungus spores are inhaled they may trigger an allergic reaction which may manifest as sneezing, itchiness, and wheezing.
Consuming moldy cannabis can cause gastrointestinal upset symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Consuming aspergillus is likely to cause aspergillosis whose symptoms include fever and chills, chest and joint pain, headaches, shortness of breath, and hemoptysis. In extreme cases, one can get mycotoxin toxicity which may result in death.
DOR has subsequently advised the public to destroy or return any marijuana products purchased from the dispensary for appropriate disposal. Consumers have also been advised to seek appropriate medical care should they experience any adverse effects. In addition, any adverse events related to the consumption of the contaminated marijuana should be reported to the Marijuana Enforcement Division by filling the reporting form which can be accessed through this link.
1- Colorado Department of Revenue (Marijuana Enforcement Division): Health and Safety Advisory: SDJ LLC (DBA The Living Rose). Retrieved from https://sbg.colorado.gov/
2- Colorado Department of Revenue (Marijuana Enforcement Division): Colorado Marijuana Rules. Retrieved from https://www.sos.state.co.us/