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Alarming Pesticide Contamination Found in Maine’s Legal Cannabis

State requires adult-use cannabis to be tested for contaminants but not medical program cannabis.




A study by Portland, Maine-based Nova Analytic Labs found a 3.82% failure rate in adult-use samples and a much higher 20.73% failure rate in voluntary/medical samples. Testing was based on approximately 3,200 adult-use compliance samples and 1,400 voluntary/medical samples between March 2022 and June 2023.

“Maine requires adult-use cannabis to be tested for contaminants like pesticides, but does not require the same for its medical cannabis program,” Chris Altomare, CEO and co-founder of Nova Analytic Labs, told Global Cannabis Times.

Among the top five pesticides detected in the voluntary/medical samples were Myclobutanil (Eagle 20), known to produce hazardous fumes such as cyanide and carbon monoxide when heated, and other pesticides like Piperonyl butoxide, Bifenthrin, Bifenazate, and Imidacloprid, each associated with various health risks.

“Our study found a ~17% discrepancy in failure rate between the adult-use samples and the voluntarily submitted samples, which include medical samples,” said Altomare. “Almost 21% of the voluntary samples were contaminated with pesticides, and considering that these were volunteered by good actors taking precautionary measures to protect patients, the true percentage of contamination is likely even higher.”

This is what the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy itself found recently. Of 127 samples of medical cannabis run through the same testing process required in the recreational-use program, “57 – or about 45% – would have failed, meaning they contained at least one banned material or substance,” reported the Press Herald on Thursday.

“Testing cannabis is the only way to ensure safety – even if an operator never applied pesticides, a contaminated environment can unknowingly contaminate the plant,” Altomare told GCT. “The most common pesticides our study found have life-threatening health risks, and the medical patients of Maine are taking a chance every time they consume untested cannabis.”





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