Legal weed testing: What Sun-Times tests found, plus flaws in Illinois’ cannabis regulation
What’s in the legal weed being sold at Illinois dispensaries? That’s what our reporters wanted to find out. That led to a deeper look at the state’s marijuana regulation.
In January 2020, recreational marijuana became legal in the state of Illinois. Since then, $1.9 billion worth of weed has been sold.
Yet, despite some of the strictest testing standards for cannabis in the nation, Illinois consumers still can’t be certain that the heavily taxed legal weed they buy from state-licensed dispensaries is free from excessive levels of contaminants such as mold, yeast and bacteria, testing commissioned by the Chicago Sun-Times found.
Read our stories on:
- What’s in your weed? Sometimes excessive levels of contaminants — and not always the promised potency.
- Illinois cannabis regulation: moldy weed but no consumer alert or recall, secret investigations.
- Tainted marijuana’s possible health effects.
- Why cannabis that failed Illinois’ state-mandated testing flunked.
- A consumer guide to getting and understanding the “nutrition labels” for legal weed — which dispensaries make tough to get.
- How we tested legal weed and investigated why some marijuana never makes it to dispensary shelves.
If you like reading these stories or have suggestions for further reporting, we’d like to hear from you. Please contact cannabis reporter Tom Schuba at firstname.lastname@example.org or consumer watchdog reporter Stephanie Zimmermann at email@example.com.
December 10, 2021 11:56 AM
What happened with tainted weed state regulators found last spring raises questions about regulation of the state’s booming industry and the high-priced, high-taxed products on dispensary shelves.
They say the marijuana they grew was fine when it was tested soon after harvest.
Most often, the failures were for having excessive levels of mold or yeast, a Sun-Times analysis of state records shows.
Under Illinois law, consumers have the right to obtain a certificate of analysis, or “COA,” for any cannabis product for sale at a dispensary. Here’s what you need to know.
Smoking moldy weed usually won’t cause serious health problems for most people. Though reports are rare, one type of mold has caused hospitalizations and deaths.
Eight of the nine pre-rolls in Sun-Times testing tested above state limits for two or more microbiological contaminants. Four failed four different microbiological tests.