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September 26, 2023

Audit: $10M in potentially unsafe cannabis product sold to Massachusetts consumers

Photo | File Union Station, home the Cannabis Control Commission's headquarters

Amid its administrative turmoil and criticism from industry businesses, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission was found to have allowed more than $10 million in marijuana products whose testing approvals had expired to be sold to consumers, according to an audit released Tuesday.

Massachusetts State Auditor Diana DiZoglio released a report Tuesday from an audit of the CCC, which found the agency did not meet all requirements to ensure consumer safety during the audit’s time frame. The purpose of the audit was to determine whether the CCC sufficiently ensured recreational marijuana products met safety standards.The audit was for the period Jan. 1 2019 to Dec. 31, 2020.

The audit found during that period more than $10 million in cannabis products was sold to consumers more than a year after it was tested for contaminants. The report detailed the CCC did not properly ensure that establishments and testing laboratories reported positive pesticide tests to the CCC within 72 hours, a requirement per state law. 

The findings come amid concerns voiced by Massachusetts cannabis testing firms, which claim the CCC’s rules discourage companies and testing firms from ensuring the safety of products sold to customers.

[Related: Tainted: Regulators eye changes as Central Mass. cannabis testing firms say unclear rules are potentially putting unsafe marijuana products on the shelves]

In the report, the auditors made recommendations for the CCC to implement controls to ensure consumers are not able to purchase products with expired safety tests and should develop policies to ensure accurate reporting from laboratories. 

According to a press release accompanying the report, commissioners at the CCC have responded to the audit and are taking measures to improve the areas of concern.

Since the summer, the CCC has gone through significant administrative turmoil, as first CCC Chairwoman Shannon O’Brien announced Executive Director Shawn Collins would leave his role, a claim which Collins later walked back. Then, in September, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg suspended O’Brien from her role.

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