Health department investigates claim mold found in medical marijuana sold in St. Louis

Gregory J. Holman
Springfield News-Leader
A Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association spokesperson said on Twitter Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 that these two patients were the first ever in Missouri to legally buy medical marijuana at an N'Bliss Cannabis dispensary in suburban St. Louis.

Tuesday night, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said it’s investigating a complaint that a medical marijuana product purchased at a state-licensed dispensary near St. Louis last weekend contained mold growth — despite passing Missouri's constitutionally required lab testing for quality control before going on sale.

In a news release, the state health department said roughly 200 people purchased product from the batch in question.

A health department spokesperson confirmed shortly after 8 p.m. that the medical marijuana was sold at N'Bliss Cannabis in the St. Louis region, but could not immediately say whether the particular purchase happened at the company's Manchester or Ellisville store.

N'Bliss said that when it learned of the complaint, it pulled sales of the batch of LSD Flower strain that authorities are now investigating. 

The dispensary said the batch ID numbers subject to the complaint included:

  • 1A40CD100000001000000314
  • 1A40CD100000001000000309

The dispensary said it was "actively cooperating" with the Missouri investigation. Patients with questions were asked to call N'Bliss's two stores:

  • Manchester: 314-627-2499
  • Ellisville: 314-627-2699

The other currently operating Missouri dispensary, Fresh.Green near Kansas City, opened on Monday, after the purchase at the center of the complaint took place, a DHSS spokesperson confirmed to the News-Leader.

It was not immediately clear where the cannabis alleged to contain mold was grown. The News-Leader contacted a representative for Archimedes, the licensed cultivator that provided Solhaus brand marijuana advertised on the website of N'Bliss, but did not immediately hear back from company officials.

The newspaper also contacted the state's first licensed marijuana testing lab, EKG Labs' MoCann Testing, also located in suburban St. Louis.

In response, a company official, Natalie Brown, noted that Missouri does not require mold testing before medical cannabis goes on sale to qualifying patients.

"The state does not require to test for mold as many other states do," Brown said in an email to the News-Leader. "I believe DHSS is working on something for the future to make it a requirement, but as of now, there is nothing stated in the rules for that specific test. We are equipped to test for mold if cultivators or manufacturers want that specific testing."

She added that Missouri's cannabis testing labs must test for mycotoxins, "which are secondary metabolites produced from naturally occurring mold and fungi," but state authorities don't require labs to test for total yeast and mold.

The Missouri health department said that it halted sales on all remaining product from the batch linked to the mold complaint.

DHSS also said officials were using the constitutionally mandated seed-to-sale tracking system to notify "all facilities, patients and caregivers associated with this product batch." Authorities asked everyone who might have bought flower from the batch not to use the product until an investigation could be completed.

“A well-regulated program allows for this type of quick action so that we can protect patients," said Lyndall Fraker, Missouri's marijuana program director, in a news release. DHSS also said that an "initial visual inspection" of the rest of the batch subject to complaint "has not indicated a concern," but that additional lab testing is being conducted.

DHSS said none of the 200-plus people who bought cannabis from the batch under investigation have reported concerns to date, but anyone "who thinks they may be experiencing an adverse reaction" should seek out medical attention and notify the state medical marijuana program.

Patients may contact Missouri's cannabis regulators by

News-Leader reporter Gregory Holman has been following Missouri medical cannabis news since October 2018. Email news tips to and consider supporting vital local journalism by subscribing.