To our Aloha Green Apothecary Ohana

Recently there has been a report concerning ethanol levels, and presence of trace amounts of lead in Aloha Green Apothecary's SPAMC cartridges. We understand this news may sound alarming and want our patients to know that all our products have always been in compliance with the Hawaii State Department of Health’s standards. In fact, the Department of Health confirms that all our products sold pass the state's strict lab testing. To help clarify, we’d like to answer a few questions for you:

Why is there ethanol in our cartridges?

When manufacturing Liquid Aloha Cartridges, we use CO2 extraction to separate cannabinoids from plant matter. After the CO2 extraction, a small amount of ethanol is then used to clarify and purge the oil of any extra residuals or waxes and help the product to assume a viscosity that allows it to be administered in a vape cartridge. The ethanol we use is high quality food grade grain ethanol. This process has given us the best results for extracting cannabinoids and terpenes effectively. After clarification, the last step is removing or purging the ethanol.

After purging solvents some residual amounts will remain. Our target level of ethanol was previously 5000ppm (parts per million) or 0.5%. This is based on the FDA and pharmaceutical guidelines for ethanol. The Hawaii State Department of Health does not have a testing limit for ethanol. In light of recent findings, Hawaii licensees have been working with the Hawaii State Department of Health to create standards in ethanol residuals.

What is considered a safe amount of Ethanol? And why is there inconsistencies in testings?

At the end of 2019, Colorado (which is considered the leading state in medical cannabis) set their ethanol limit to 1,000 ppm. From 2009 - 2019, Colorado had no set testing limits related to ethanol.

We have provided our full compliance reports of ethanol levels which was not published, but many of our cartridges are already well below 1,000ppm including the cartridges recently tested. But these results were not shared. Over time, ethanol evaporates leaving behind a lower amount of residuals. We are unclear to why or how an additional amount of ethanol was found in the same batches SPAMC oil we tested.

Up until this point, there are no studies on the effects inhalation of cannabis products that contain ethanol. Although there are no industry standards in Hawaii for ethanol, we have committed to lowering our target level of ethanol in future SPAMC cartridges to 1,000ppm (0.1%) or less.

Is there any lead in my cartridge?

There has also been a concern regarding heavy metals in our SPAMC cartridges. We work very closely with our distributors to ensure that Aloha Green Apothecary only carries the most up to date, advanced cartridges in technology and safety. Our distributors have provided us with heavy metal testing certificates for each batch of hardware. Any lead found in a cartridge is located in the electrical components of the cartridge. These electrical components are surrounded by a ceramic heating element which when in contact with our cannabis oil, helps to provide an even heat distribution, and a steady consistent vapor. That ceramic core is housed in stainless steel cylinder. The intended design is to have no electrical wires directly touching any cannabis oil. We are unclear of the standard of testing that was provided in the published report, but we stand by the word of our distributors who test with cannabis related laboratories who are used to handling advanced hardware.

In addition, our current full compliance testing includes heavy metals for each of our SPAMC oils. The state has a limit of 6ppm for lead. Up to date certificates of analysis are available for viewing at each dispensary. As of this writing, Aloha Green has never tested positive for any lead in our products. We stand by the safety of our hardware.

While we understand that this news may sound concerning, please know that Aloha Green Apothecary’s products have always been in compliance with the Hawaii State Department of Health’s product standards. Patient safety is our number one priority and we will continue to lead the local medical cannabis community with our best foot forward. Please feel free to email us at with any questions or comments.