Maryland Dispensary Fined $26,000 for Selling Cannabis From a Dumpster

Maryland-based dispensary, Far & Dotter, and Curio Wellness was recently hit with a fine of $26,000 for selling cannabis that was removed from a dumpster.

According to a Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) consent order shared by The Baltimore Banner, a total of 64 units of cannabis (224 grams) product were thrown into the garbage outside of Curio Wellness’ Far & Dotter dispensary, located in Timonium, Maryland in July 2023. The order states that the store received a delivery of Amnesia OG flower in sealed jars, but does not specify the reason as to why it was thrown away.

The products sat in the garbage for approximately 41 hours and nine minutes. Video footage shows three employees “leaning over the dumpster” to pull out the products. Further video footage shows one employee repackaging the products, and later told the MCA that they did so “because the original packaging was covered in a liquid substance.”

A statement from Curio Wellness claims that no liquid or other substances reached the pre-packaged cannabis products. “The aforementioned product was inside sealed jars, within sealed boxes, and it is undisputed that no outside material ever breached the jars or touched the product,” Curio stated.

The incident came to light when a Far & Dotter inventory manager listed as “A.J.” reported it to the MCA. According to that individual, they recommended that the cannabis be destroyed rather than being recovered and resold, but management “insisted on not losing the profit.” A.J. was terminated from their position prior to them emailing the MCA.

An unnamed Far & Dotter general manager made the decision “on her own” to sell the cannabis that was previously in the dumpster.

During the time that the repackaged cannabis was on store shelves, between July 28-Aug. 3, it was sold to 24 medical cannabis patients and 18 recreational consumers, a combined value of $3,174.50. The consent order verifies that the MCA “has received no reports of adverse incidents related to its sales of the Amnesia OG product.”

Curio co-founder Wendy Bronfein told MJBizDaily in a statement that they are committed to launching an internal investigation to adhere to the law. “Non-adherence to safety and compliance procedures is not taken lightly, nor tolerated,” Bronfein wrote. “Curio prides itself on trusted relationships with our customers and employees and strives to maintain excellence throughout all operations, with a high commitment to safety and compliance procedures.”

In addition to the $26,000 fine for violating the law, the dispensary must submit its green waste logs to the MCA every month for the next six months and is also required to submit “scale calibration and cleaning logs” to the MCA for monthly review as well. All employees will need to be retrained on how to properly dispose of green waste.

According to the MCA, green waste disposal includes contaminated cannabis, damaged or opened products, expired products, products without labels, recalled products, and much more. To dispose of any such green waste, the business must report it on a Cannabis Green Waste Log that details the date and time of destruction, as well as the product name, metric tag number, product weight, the reason for the product being labeled as waste, and the method of destruction. Common methods of destruction are listed as “returned to grower or processor, kitty litter, mulch, bleach, etc.”

Recreational cannabis sales began in July 2023, and collected $20 million in sales during its first month. Reports show that the state has doubled its sales since then, and as of January 2024, total sales collected has amounted to $700 million. According to SunMed Growers president Jake Van Wingerden, the steady increase in sales has allowed the company to give raises to employees. “Once legalization happened we were able to stabilize and a lot of our projections came true,” said Van Wingerden. “We recently at SunMed gave the entire staff a 5-dollar-an-hour raise across the board. So, we were very excited to be able to reinvest back into our team and our people.” SunMed is one of the largest cannabis farms currently operating in Maryland.

Last month in Maryland, Police Chief Marchus Jones stood up against county regulations that currently require new law enforcement recruits from having consumed cannabis within the past three years. “I think in today’s environment, where we are with the legalization of cannabis, that has now restricted law enforcement agencies, particularly larger agencies, across the state,” said Jones.

Montgomery County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard also commented on the rule. “Having a legal drug become a barrier to increasing law enforcement seems like it’s a bad policy,” Stodder said. “It’s a big issue now, but it’s going to become an increasingly large issue as more people who have consumed with legalization consider policing, they realize they’re ineligible, that’s when we expect to see a bigger drop-off in applications.”

Jones called on the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission to reevaluate the three-year rule, and the commission confirmed it would study alternatives but did not provide an estimated timeline.

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