Nine years after medical marijuana became legal in Arizona, the industry has yet to set any standards that would require testing of what is considered “medicine” to so many.
ABC15 News has learned that Arizona is one of the only states where no state guidelines are in place to make sure the product is free from mold, pesticides, and other harmful bacteria. Several labs ABC15 spoke with confirm the presence of everything from toxic levels of mold, to pesticide residues, and E.coli in some of the products they tested. Some of the labs will willingly bring products in to get tested, but not always because because testing costs money.
Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli has been leading the fight to require this testing for several years now. Even though most of the bills he has sponsored have failed, he remains a passionate and outspoken voice for medical marijuana patients in the state. “This is the only industry that has this privilege of no transparency whatsoever,” said Borrelli.
Borrelli has called out the industry for not openly disclosing all financial reports to the State Department of Revenue to ensure the state is getting its full share of sales tax revenue in the non-profit industry. He has worked with industry insiders to come up with bills to ensure medical marijuana gets tested before hitting the dispensary shelves.
Shawn Wagner, diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and chronic pain, is one of more than 200,000 medical marijuana card holders in Arizona. He’s very particular about buying organic products and said he brought a small batch home from an undisclosed dispensary in Phoenix only to open it and find a layer of mold growing on his medicine.
“I was furious. I called and then they said, ‘I’m sorry this happened,'” said