Pesticides are commonly used by farmers to protect their crops from being eaten by insects. Even marijuana farmers are faced with this issue, as a single mature pot plant is valued as much as $4,000. The problem with pesticides is that many of them contain toxic chemicals that could make cannabis dangerous to consume.
Here are some points to remember on the use of pesticides for growing medical marijuana:
States are now cracking down on growers who try to use toxic pesticides. In April 2015, Denver officials blocked the sale of millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana that was grown at a warehouse using unapproved pesticides. The state also began beta-testing plants for contaminants. Part of the issue is that since cannabis is still illegal under federal law, the EPA cannot approve any pesticides for its cultivation. Six of the 23 states that have decriminalized pot do not have any pesticide regulations for the plant, while five states ban all pesticides except for certain benign solutions like garlic and rosemary oil.
The EPA approved pesticides for tobacco growers, but it doesn’t require pesticide residue limits for tobacco the way it does for other food crops. States will unlikely set their own residue limits for cannabis, but the EPA is allowing farmers in states like Washington and Colorado to apply for certain pesticides, although it’s a process that may take years.
The Hydroponic Solution
One solution for farmers of all crops who want to avoid pesticides completely is hydroponic farming, which includes growing plants in water. This method will likely gain more attention in the coming years, especially after the World Health Organization determined in 2015 that Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides contain glyphosate that can probably cause cancer. Meanwhile, hydroponic farming is more efficient, produces more yields and doesn’t require pesticides.
Ray Boroumand is the Owner of 4th Street Medical, a leader in providing evaluations for medical marijuana in Orange County. An advocate for medical marijuana, Ray believes in making the process as simple and easy for patients as possible through quick and convenient verification. At 4th Street Medical, he stresses convenience, affordability and transparency 100% of the time and advises patients on how to get a medical marijuana card in California.