Marijuana tester finds ‘Street-bought’ pot unsafe

The owner of a Gaylord laboratory which tests locally grown medical marijuana fears patients who use black-market pot may be subjecting themselves to unsafe levels of mold and pesticides.

Dan Tomaski, a certified caregiver who runs Northern Laboratory Services on North Center Avenue, said last month’s court ruling, which closed marijuana collectives across the state, forces some patients to buy cannabis from street dealers. That pot, Tomaski said, can harbor mold as well as pesticide at levels more than 60 times those allowed for store-bought spinach.

Tomaski, 33, is hired by local caregiver growers to test their marijuana for quality and purity. He dissolves a sample of marijuana into a solution and injects it into a gas chromatograph, which gives readings in parts per million (ppm) of pesticides as well as the plant’s active compounds — THC, CBD and CBN. He also uses a lab microscope to look for mold, which can cause respiratory problems, especially in those with weak immune systems.

 

He said cannabis from local growers that was being sold at Gaylord’s collectives tested “100 percent free of pesticides.”

Four samples of marijuana bought off the streets in Gaylord, Metro Detroit and Traverse City, however, contained pesticides upwards of 440 ppm of permethrin, 630 ppm of cypermethrin, and 485 ppm of beta-cyfluthrin. By comparison, for spinach, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets residual limits of permethrin at 20 ppm and beta-cyfluthrin at 6 ppm. Tomaski said the USDA limit for cypermethrin is 14 ppm.

Mold, dirt, and suspected insect droppings were also found in the samples, according to Tomaski.

“These are unfit for consumption,” he said, noting he’s published those findings on his Web site in what he calls “The Schwag Report.” “Schwag” is a slang term for low-grade marijuana.

“We published this report to show what some people would be forced back into using if these collectives close,” he said, referring to last month’s ruling. “It’s making it more dangerous for patients. I don’t understand why courts are forcing patients back into that.”

Last month, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled facilities where marijuana is bought and sold are illegal and said they can be shut down as a public nuisance.

Tomaski said locally produced medical marijuana contains, on average, 14 percent THC — the most psychoactive compound in the plant and less than one percent each of CBD and CBN. CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC. CBN has a sedative effect, he said. Some local marijuana contains upwards of 25 percent THC, meaning patients have to consume far less of the drug to achieve desired effect.
“Some of these (local) growers are turning out world-class cannabis,” Tomaski said, noting his operation, as well as making marijuana available in a retail environment, helps “raise the bar” on quality among growers.

“Collectives have the goal of patient access to medicine, and we want to make sure they have access to good medicine,” he said.

via : Gaylord Hearald Times

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