Some members of Connecticut’s medical marijuana community are concerned about the recreational market with sales expected to start on Jan. 10, 2023. They are also concerned about the mold threshold allowed under Connecticut law.
Right now there are four medical marijuana growers in the state and at least one of them is in some financial trouble, but the Department of Consumer Protection maintains that the medical community is its first priority and will have access to the product.
“There are four growers, all multi-state operators, and they are the folks subsidizing the lab testing in Connecticut for patients,” Kristin Souza, a cannabis advocate and owner of Sugarleaf Boutique in Middletown, said.
She said the “mold threshold has been increased,” and it’s still “not super transparent to patients.”
“Inhaling mold in any capacity isn’t healthy for you,” Souza said.
The Department of Consumer Protection maintains that every harvest is tested and it posts the data on this website.
What are the allowable limits?
“Maximum threshold of no detectable amount for the four organisms in the genus aspergillus (which may be harmful to humans when inhaled), AND 10^5 colony forming units/gram combined total for all other colony forming units that have no demonstrated injurious impact on human health,” a DCP spokesperson said. “The regulation was updated earlier this year to be consistent with current best practices in the industry.”
There are only two labs in the state that do the testing and the testing is paid for by the four growers. Individual patients are unable to send their product to a lab for testing.
Souza said that’s part of the problem and why there’s a lack of trust among some in the medical community. She said they would like to see some sort of ombudsman position created for the cannabis industry because when they call seeking answers about mold limits they get bounced around from DCP to the Department of Revenue Services to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
She said Connecticut has one of the highest amounts of allowable mold and yeast in the country.
The medical community, which numbers around 50,000, is allowed up to five ounces per month. When sales of recreational cannabis start the limit will be a quarter of an ounce per person.
“We thought a quarter of an ounce [for retail sales] would be a reasonable number to hopefully avoid shortages but still allowing people to buy a reasonable amount,” Seagull said. “You could buy a few pre-rolled cigarettes and maybe an edible or some combination of different products.”
Those restrictions will later be reviewed as more of the state’s cannabis market comes online. Seagull said the agency needed time to assess the demand for the product and how it stacked up against the supply capabilities of the state’s cannabis producers.
The Connecticut Medical Cannabis Council, an association of medicinal marijuana producers, released a statement, promising to sustain the medical program while allowing supporting the launch of the commercial market.
“Patients and consumers can be confident that our products, which will be sold at the nine licensed hybrid retailers, are laboratory tested and labeled with detailed information about their content,” the group representing Advanced Grow Labs, CT Pharma, Curaleaf and Theraplant, said.
But it’s possible at least one of Connecticut’s growers might not make it to January if it doesn’t find more financial backing.
Greenrose Holding Company, Inc., which owns Theraplant in Watertown, told the Securities and Exchange Commission last week that “we do not believe the Company will have sufficient cash on hand or available liquidity to meet its obligations in the upcoming reporting periods, and we have substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern. We will need substantial additional capital to fund our operations in future reporting periods.”
No one from Theraplant responded to our requests for comment last week.
“We will need substantial additional capital to fund our operations in future reporting periods,” the company reported. “The Company expects cash flows to increase over time, but not sufficiently in the short term to be able to pay for expenses, without raising additional capital. If we are unable to generate additional revenue and obtain financing on acceptable terms, or at all, we will likely be required to cease our operations, pursue a plan to sell our operating assets, or otherwise modify our business strategy, which could materially harm our future business prospects.”
It’s unclear if three hybrid growers will be able to maintain enough product for the expanding Connecticut marketplace.