With the recent legalization of Marijuana in certain US states and Canada, there has been an exponential increase in the Marijuana related industries. This interesting article showed up in the San Francisco Chronicle highlighting the hazards of pesticides used in the booming marijuana industry.
Farmers in California’s Central Valley, the state’ s largest agricultural region, applied more than 150 million total pounds of pesticides to crops in 2015 (the most recent year data are available). That’ s an average of 3,500 pounds per square mile and makes up more than 75 percent of all pesticides applied across the state.
Because generally scientists don’t know the risks of inhaling burned pesticides, the state has proposed some of the country’s tightest limits on more than 60 popular cannabis pesticides. One pesticide threatens cannabis growers more often than any other: myclobutanil – often called Eagle 20 – applied to a variety of crops to prevent powdery mildew. Myclobutanil isn’ t deemed harmful if eaten, but if smoked, myclobutanil turns into cyanide gas which could be dangerous.
Regulators have proposed limiting myclobutanil on cannabis to levels that are as little as one five hundredth of what’ s allowed on other crops. Some pesticides can persist in soils for up to 20 years. Even with tight pesticide rules, there should be enough clean cannabis for all of California’ s consumers.
Californians use about 2.5 million pounds of cannabis annually, while the state produces an 11 million- pound surplus for export.