By Rick Schettino • February 28, 2019

Mass. Dispensary Shuttered For Regulatory Violations After Surprise Inspection

"You’re doing it wrong." That, in effect, is what regulators in Massachusetts told Acton-based Mass Wellspring medical marijuana dispensary after an unannounced inspection uncovered numerous violations. Wellspring was also told to close its doors until all violations have been addressed. Not only was the dispensary shuttered, but the vertically-integrated company was also ordered to suspend cultivation and processing operations making the incident an extremely costly bump in the road. And it’s not behind them yet. An investigation into the dispensary’s practices is ongoing and the cease and desist order will remain in place until the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission takes further action.

During the surprise inspection compliance officers “identified operations that violate the medical use of marijuana regulations and were determined to pose an immediate or serious threat to the public health, safety, and welfare.” According to the CCC, which oversees the state’s medical marijuana program, violations are related to storage, security, and record keeping. Among the violations listed, the shop allegedly purchased wholesale cannabis that lacked proper labeling and test results.

Here's a list of the infractions:

  • Marijuana and marijuana products stored outside of secure locked safe or vault area approved by the Commission for adequately secured storage.
  • Use of a non-approved laboratory room and cure room for secondary vault storage despite lack of panic alarm or architectural review approval to utilize area as a secure vault. Enforcement staff observed marijuana and marijuana products unsecured in the non-approved laboratory area and patient consultation area,
  • The vault room lacked adequate security camera coverage, adequate sanitation controls and was being used for purposes other than storage of marijuana. Enforcement staff observed Marijuana MIP beverage products stored in an unlocked refrigerator alongside employee food items.
  • Unsecured access to surveillance room containing the facility’s surveillance equipment. Enforcement staff observed unlocked, open-door access to the on-site surveillance room, missing ceiling tiles and exposed wiring, unlocked storage doors containing the facility’s server equipment and accumulation excessive trash cultivation equipment.
  • Insufficient camera coverage including: ( 1) lack of perimeter surveillance including area with accessible hole in chain link fence, (2) lack of surveillance coverage on marijuana waste disposal area (3) use of a decoy camera not capable of recording live video, ( 4) inability to produce a clear, color, still photo,
    Insufficient perimeter security alarm coverage. Enforcement staff observed a rear exit door lacking a security alarm.
  • Illegible and incomplete labels lacking required information specifying product origin and statement that the product had been tested for pesticides. Enforcement staff observed that labeling affirmatively acknowledged deficiency by stating that “this product may not meet established standards for pesticides.”
  • Finished marijuana flower product obtained from a wholesaler and stored in plastic containers lacked testing results for various strains and types of marijuana contained therein.
  • Lack of manifests or documentation demonstrating that wholesale product is reweighed or recounted upon delivery.
  • Marijuana waste disposed of without proper documentation and not rendered unusable or unrecognizable. Enforcement staff determined that Respondent failed to produce waste disposal logs documenting the disposal date, type and quantity of marijuana disposed of and manner of disposal of marijuana or marijuana products.
  • Respondent did not have policies and procedures on site including policies and procedures for secure cash handling, diversion prevention, transportation, patient sales and cultivation.
  • Respondent failed to maintain a written visitor log or implement other measures to monitor facility access of vendors, contractors or outside vendors for authorized purposes.

As developers of Viridian Sciences cannabis enterprise resource planning systems, we take stories like this very seriously. Many of these issues might have been averted with the proper use of a seed-to-sale tracking application such as the robust seed-to-sale application built into Viridian Sciences. Our system is not only designed to help cannabis-touching businesses maximize production and profits by closely tracking every aspect of cultivation, production, distribution, lab testing, and retail sales, it’s also designed specifically to make regulatory compliance and reporting a breeze in order to prevent potential regulatory disasters.

We hope Mass Wellspring will be back on its feet as quickly as possible, and we hope other cannabis operations will see this as an opportunity to look at their own operations and assure that they are not destined to repeat Mass Wellspring's missteps. It’s not clear if this incident will affect the company’s recent application for a recreational cannabis license. It would be a crying shame if their application were rejected as a result of this incident.

MassLive.com has more on this story.