Quality issues tarnish Illinois’ new cannabis culture 

It’s been almost two years since Illinois became the 11th US state to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use. By and large, the promises have proved correct. Legalized weed has not brought about the downfall of civilization, and its availability has not resulted in the populace spending its days incapacitated any more than the availability of beer and wine in stores and bars.  

 That’s not to say it’s been entirely plain sailing, however. One of the primary benefits of legalization is to make cannabis safer. After all, it’s surely better to buy it from a licensed seller than from a shady character in a deserted parking lot. That, however, is an assertion that has been shaken to its foundations following revelations about tainted weed sold to unsuspecting consumers. 

 Old pond water 

 The problem only recently came to public attention, despite being uncovered by the state regulatory body more than six months ago. Dispensary workers observed mold in a number of pre-rolled joints and informed the IDFPR immediately. The regulator’s response was to quarantine unsold stock and to invite retailers to “initiate a voluntary recall” if they saw fit to do so. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most did not. 

 However, the problem did not go unnoticed by consumers. One said it smelt of “old pond water” and another that he was sickened for a week after consuming it.  

 Better to home grow? 

 There are already strong financial drivers for cannabis lovers to try home cultivation. After all, the average price of an ounce of weed in an Illinois dispensary is more than $350, while growing your own Girl Scout Cookies ( plant will cost you less than $12 per seed. The average plant yields more than 10 ounces, so the investment cost of setting up a grow room and so on soon pays for itself. 

 Until now, quality has been one of the major factors that would keep cannabis users going to the dispensaries and paying their prices. The quality issues that have now been leaked only serve to make consumers more inclined to trust in themselves and try a little horticulture. 

 Moving forward, regaining trust 

Illinois makes no secret of the fact that its cannabis regulations are among the toughest of any state. There’s mandatory testing for mold, bacteria and other contaminants, which is more than most state legislatures can say. Yet these are worth precisely nothing if they are not vigorously enforced and adequately policed.  

 The regulator investigated the cultivator at the heart of the moldy weed scandal but found no problems and closed the case, dismissing the issue as a freak occurrence with a one-off batch, and the matter was closed.  

 Chris Rohde runs the CannaBev YouTube channel. He said the effects of ingesting moldy cannabis could be serious, especially for those who use it to help manage medical conditions. He feels the regulator need more power and better transparency if it wants the public to continue to do business with the state’s licensed dispensaries. 

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