San Diego Cannabis Extraction Lab Indicted For Dumping Hazardous Waste

San Diego cannabis extraction company, WellgreensCA, has been charged for allegedly disregarding compliance and illegally dumping 55-gallon barrels of contaminated ethanol in various locations.

Compliant waste removal is a major factor of cannabis production and manufacturing in California. Companies that process cannabis into oil using solvents like ethanol or polyethanol are required to dispose of the solvents in compliance with stringent state regulations.

WellgreensCA is one of 40 permitted cannabis production plants in San Diego; the company processes cannabis to create THC oil and packages cannabis oil for private labels. According to the company’s attorney, Vikas Bajaj, WellgreensCA is a “model extraction lab that has been used as an example by California regulators.”

Ethanol is used as a solvent by cannabis oil producers and manufacturers, typically during the winterization stage of the distillation. According to the indictment, “The waste ethanol generated by Wellgreens was a federally regulated hazardous waste that exhibited the characteristic of ignitability.”

One questionable factor of the alleged dumping is ethanol’s ability to be recycled and repurposed for future distillation. Recycling ethanol can reduce hazardous waste production, decrease waste removal fees, and lower solvent purchases by 95% according to Maratek Environmental.

Beginning in February 2018, WellgreensCA allegedly paid for their contaminated ethanol to be dumped at the intersection of State Routes 52 and 125, as well as Jamacha Road in El Cajon, Avocado Avenue in El Cajon, and Logan Avenue in San Diego.

WellgreensCA allegedly paid cash to have the drums of ethanol removed from their premises. The cost of the unlawful disposal amounted to half of the expense of compliant disposal. No invoices, manifests, or receipts were created by either WellgreensCA or the disposer, according to the indictment

Cannabis processors that use disposal services are required to submit the name of the hauler, the company’s address, a dated receipt for the service, and a primary contact name/telephone number to the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

WellgreensCA had hired a cannabis consulting firm to aid them with adhering to cannabis regulations. Attorney Vikas Bajaj, explained to Candid Chronicle that this situation is not unique to WellgreensCA; many cannabis companies resort to cannabis consultants to help them understand and comply with state regulations.

Unfortunately, some cannabis consultants are second-rate and may not have the expertise they claim for the exorbitant fees they charge. Bajaj says that the alleged dumping is a “consequence of misplaced trust in fraudulent consultants.” 

As to who the consulting firm is, Bajaj says, “We will in the future identify the individual and consulting firm that we believe is culpable.”

Part-owner Lunar Loussia and administrator Nadia Malloian have been charged in the indictment. Loussia has three applications for recreational cannabis storefronts in Chula Vista, as well as other cannabis businesses in the San Diego area.

Attorney Vikas Bajaj says the indictment may carry implications for Loussia’s other cannabis businesses, though WellgreensCA is prepared to defend themselves and allow for the “proper parties” to be investigated in this case.

Edit: It was published that Loussia and Malloian are co-owners, their roles have been updated.


  1. John July 11, 2019
    • No name. July 27, 2019