The state slapped Curio Wellness with a fine of $26,000 for selling cannabis that had been dug out of a dumpster and the packaging of which was covered by “liquid substance.”

According to the consent order from the Maryland Cannabis Administration, 224 grams of cannabis product were thrown in the trash and were outside, in the dumpster at Curio’s Far & Dotter dispensary in Timonium, for 41 hours and nine minutes.

On July 25, 2023, 64 units of cannabis (224 grams total) were thrown in the trash and in a dumpster for two days. Just before 10 a.m. on July 27, 2023, three employees can be seen on video footage “leaning over the dumpster” and recovering the missing, pre-packaged cannabis product.

Later that day, around 7:30 p.m., an employee is seen repackaging the products.

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Recreational, adult-use cannabis began in Maryland July 1, 2023.

The employee who did the repackaging told the Maryland Cannabis Administration that it was necessary “because the original packaging was covered in a liquid substance” from the dumpster. Curio asserts that no liquid or other material from the dumpster reached the cannabis inside its packaging.

Far & Dotter’s general manager, who is not named in the document, made the decision to sell the dumpster cannabis “on her own” according to the order.

The MCA became aware of the situation after receiving an email from an employee identified as A.J., who was the inventory manager on duty on July 25, 2023.

In the email, A.J. says he advised destroying the cannabis that was in the dumpster, but that management “insisted on not losing the profit.” Curio disputes that characterization of management, according to the consent order.

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A.J.’s employment at Far & Dotter was “terminated” on or about Aug. 20, 2023, according to the order, and he emailed his complaint to the MCA on or about Aug. 24, 2023.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Curio said the company prides itself on relationships with its customers and employees.

“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,” the statement said.

Curio also said they’ve conducted an internal investigation and that nonadherence to safety and compliance requirements “is not taken lightly nor tolerated.”

In total, Far & Dotter sold the cannabis that had been in the dumpster to 24 medical cannabis patients and 18 adult use customers for a total of $3,174.50 in sales between July 28-Aug. 3. As of the February 2024 date of the order, neither the MCA nor the company have reported any adverse reactions to the cannabis.

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While investigating the dumpster cannabis, MCA also found the company had not been properly logging everything it’s required to, such as not entering product into its green waste log and not properly logging calibration of a scale.

In addition to paying the fine, the company was ordered to submit its green waste logs for monthly reviews, submit its scale calibration and cleaning logs for monthly review, and retrain staff on green waste procedures.