AUGUSTA, Maine — A call from an employee of one of the state’s medical marijuana dispensary operations sparked an investigation that found pesticides were being used in violation of rules governing cultivation of the plants, according to a state official.
An employee of Wellness Connection of Maine called the state earlier this month to say pesticides were being used on plants cultivated at the group’s Auburn facility, and investigators found pesticides and more than 20 other violations of rules governing medicinal marijuana.
The state’s medical marijuana rules ban the use of pesticides. Kenneth Albert, Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services director, said the state shared the results of the investigation with Wellness Connection officials on Monday who agreed to stop using pesticides and to make several changes to address the state’s concerns. They will be allowed to continue to sell the plants grown with pesticides but must inform patients that chemicals were used in their growth, he said.
“The state is unable to decide if [the pesticide-treated marijuana is a health issue] because of the lack of research in the industry to know the risks associated with igniting pesticides on cannabis,” Albert said Monday night.
Albert said a death linked to pesticide-treated medical marijuana has been recorded in California, but he did not say when or where that occurred or if the pesticide used in that case is among the nine types found in use in Maine. He described the pesticides found at the Maine