The other day we stopped by one of our nearby medical marijuana centers. It’s changed hands several times over the last few years. The exterior must have several coats of various shades of green paint underneath.
There wasn’t a huge variety on the shelves, but enough to find a suitable strain or two. The budtender happily opened each jar we pointed at so we could see and smell what we were purchasing. Since we were relatively unfamiliar with their product, we decided to try an eighth of Razzleberry.
Then came one of my pet-peeve moments as the budtender reached her bare hand into the jar and started scooping out buds.
“Where had her hands been before that jar?” I wondered as I quickly tried to recount what I had seen her doing since I walked in. “I hope she hasn’t been handling money.” I cringed and looked at my husband.
“Get your grubby paws off my medicine!” I wanted to shout.
Safe handling isn’t just a concern for patients and consumers, but a liability issue for the business as well. Some lab owners have voiced concerns about transmission of e-coli, salmonella and other nasties through poor handling practices. Would you handle food the same way?
I’m not suggesting that they pre-package all their flower, but to protect themselves and their patients, many dispensaries are using gloves, tongs or chopsticks to handle bud, which is much more sanitary. I mean seriously, who wants someone sticking their grubby hands, especially if they’ve been handling money, in a big jar that’s supposed to hold medicine?
A 2014 study reports:
Paper currency and coins may be a public health risk when associated with the simultaneous handling of food and could lead to the spread of nosocomial infections. Banknotes recovered from hospitals may be highly contaminated by Staphylococcus aureus. Salmonella species, Escherichia coli and S. aureus are commonly isolated from banknotes from food outlets. Laboratory simulations revealed that methicillin-resistant S. aureus can easily survive on coins, whereas E. coli, Salmonella species and viruses, including human influenza virus, Norovirus, Rhinovirus, hepatitis A virus, and Rotavirus, can be transmitted through hand contact.
As a patient, safe handling of what is medicine for me is a big deal. I mean, c’mon people, how hard is it to put on gloves or pick up tongs to handle product? And how sanitary is it anyway to be pulling buds out of the same jar everyone’s nose, including mine, has sniffed up?
This is just one consideration when I judge an unfamiliar dispensary. When I see this sort of lax attention to safe handling in the store, it makes me wonder about the rest of the operation. It doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in what they’re producing or selling.
I did talk to the manager about my concerns who told me they’d been thinking about changing their handling practices and would consider my suggestions. We’ll stop by again sometime and see if anything has really changed.