You might be smoking a cloud full of pesticides next time you puff on a spliff. So says entomologist Whitney Crenshaw in a report this week by NPR.
The cannabusiness is exploding faster than a dynamite tangie dab in your brain, faster than regulators can mount up and try to make some rules to protect either consumers or producers. That’s why Crenshaw, a professor at Colorado State University, says that some of your weed might have unsafe levels of pesticides in it.
Most crops, tobacco for example, have their pesticide regulations drafted by the federal government. But the federal government still calls marijuana a schedule I controlled substance, so it doesn’t have anything to say on the subject of what makes it safe or unsafe.
A lot of states, including maryjane Mecca Colorado and endo empire California, don’t have laws about which pesticides or what amounts you can use in a cannabis grow house. Though both Colorado and California have state agriculture issued “guidelines” on pesticide use, they are not legally binding. And flowers are not required to be tested in Colorado before hitting the market. Consequently, some cultivators make wise decisions as far as that goes, and some others don’t.
“In the absence of any direction the subject of pesticide use on the crop has just devolved to just whatever people think is working or they think is appropriate,” Crenshaw told NPR. “Anybody can get their hands on harmful chemicals, and they can just spray away all the way up until the last day of harvest.”
Since the federal cats are tripping and basically no help to marijuana concerns and the state has issued soft guidelines instead of hard rules, the city of Denver took it on themselves to quarantine 60,000 plants earlier this year when fears were raised that they may have contained unsafe levels of pesticides. But few other cities have taken on that responsibility.
It feels like an age old song now: the weed business is legal enough to exist legitimately, but still dicey enough that the government doesn’t want to muck around changing laws to aid the industry. This is the same reason a lot of cannabis businesses can’t use banks or credit, why that dab you legally purchased might be toxic tane soup, and why buds distributed to patients might be tainted with unhealthy pesticides.
“Other agricultural industries already have policy in place for the safe use of spraying certain pesticides and fungicides,” Brett Eaton, an expert from the Denver consulting group American Cannabis Company, told NPR. “This being a new industry, it hasn’t been addressed yet.”