Contaminants Found in New York Illegal Weed

Stephen Andrews
05 Dec 2022

New York officials reportedly deployed researchers to sample weed products sold illegally across the city. There's currently a boom of illicit sales in New York, enabled by the delay of issuing licenses for legal dispensaries after the state legalized the recreational use of marijuana last year, in 2021.

New Yorkers have increasingly relied on illegal street dealers to supply their stash of weed and fulfill their right to smoke weed legally. It sounds ironic, right? Some would say it's the consequence of voting for legalization but waiting a hell lot of a time to launch legal sales.   

The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association allegedly went out on the field to test the illegal weed. What they say they found in the street samples are many things that are not supposed to be there, including E. coli, salmonella, and lead. 

The association published a report on November 30, which claims 40% of the tested illegal cannabis products in New York City were affected by harmful contaminants. The sampled weed came from just 20 illegal sites. All five boroughs were included. 

Around 40% of the sampled products failed at least one of the standard tests used to "all clear" cannabis products before they could be legally sold at medical cannabis dispensaries. 

Tests also showed that some of the weed was twice as potent in THC than the said amount. More than half of the locations that sold these products did not ask for identification. 

New York authorities only recently issued the first round of CAURD (Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary) licenses, reserved for justice-involved candidates and non-profit organizations. 

One of the CAURD license applicants and co-founder of the New York for Social and Economic Equity, Juancarlos Huntts, commented on the recent findings: "I want everyone to understand that these smoke shops and delis are not legacy operators—they're opportunists that are retraumatizing our community and stopping our ability to build wealth.

"They are poisoning our Black and Brown communities. You cannot build wealth without health and these smoke shop owners are destroying the reputation of New York's cannabis with their chemicals. They need to be stopped," he said. 

Don Williams from Curaleaf pointed the finger at New York's failing medical cannabis program, a reason why so many New Yorkers turn to the streets to look for medicines. 

"Faced with an eroding medical cannabis program, New York patients have been pushed into this newly rampant illicit market, exposing them to E. coli, salmonella, and other dangerous toxins from untested products," Williams said. "They deserve better, and New York must prioritize creating a safe and thriving cannabis program for them and adult-use consumers." 

It's needless to comment further. Bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli can cause serious health issues when it enters the body. It can do a lot of damage and lead to serious health complications. Contaminants such as lead build in the body with long-term exposure and could also lead to serious illnesses such as cancer. So, be careful where you buy your weed!

Stephen Andrews