CT cannabis dispensary seeks uniform lab testing standards

Connecticut cannabis dispensary Fine Fettle is pushing for more transparency and uniform lab standards in a statement regarding the safety of the products.

The statement comes more than a month after patients expressed concerns regarding safety and transparency of medical marijuana products when public records showed the state Department of Consumer Protection allowed AltaSci, one of the state’s two testing labs, to increase its allowable level of mold and yeast from 10,000 to 1 million colony forming units per gram.

The change, approved via email in 2020, also included additional testing for molds in the Aspergillus family.

The state says these changes made the products safer and has started the process to officially change regulations for both labs to permit up to 100,000 units per gram and allow no detectable levels of Aspergillus.

The behind-the-scenes change sparked patient outcry last year, and some expressed concerns over the transparency of the 2020 process as well as the safety of the products. Patients posted online about their concerns and spoke out at public meetings, asking for improved quality control methods.

“We hope to see consistent, transparent testing standards in Connecticut’s medical marijuana program,” Fine Fettle’s statement read in part. “These bolstered standards should set a precedent for the state’s impending adult-use program.”

Fine Fettle has dispensary locations in Willimantic, Stamford and Newington as well as two in Massachusetts.

The statement also said the presence of mold and yeast in cannabis is normal, and that some states don’t test for those microbes. The statement also said that while the standards were safe, “inconsistencies across different labs is an issue.”

It called for consistent standards and “full transparency,” around rules and regulations in a public forum.

The state is in the midst of the process of changing its regulations for labs, which begins with a public comment period. The period ends at 5 p.m. Feb. 1.

After the public comment period, the state will review the feedback to determine any necessary changes. The Attorney General’s office will then have 30 days to review the regulations, said Kaitlyn Krasselt, a spokesperson for the Department of Consumer Protection.

If approved, it goes to the Legislative Regulations Review Committee, which has 45 days to put it on the agenda, Krasselt said.

An AltaSci official has said the lab supports the change.

More information on test results for specific cannabis products in Connecticut is available on the state’s data website.

Ginny Monk