A recent investigative report by the Oregonian suggests that marijuana is far from the organic illusion that many users have about it. Oregon started requiring that marijuana sold through dispensaries be test for pesticides by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). However it appears OHA really had no direction or clue to as what they were doing, including a lack of knowledge on pesticides.
The results of the Oregonian independent investigation are absolutely outrageous. Any other edible crop with these results would be issued multiple fines and an in-depth investigation by the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Analytical Response Center (PARC). If Oregon is going to have legal marijuana for medicinal or recreational use it needs to be treated like any other crop.
Marijuana patients and every other farmer should be concerned because:
- When it comes to pesticides, the label is the LAW. Currently there are no pesticides labeled for Cannabis under EPA’s FIFRA. Technically there should be no pesticide usage in marijuana production.
- “…a pesticide under FIFRA, the applicant must show, among other things, that using the pesticide according to specifications “will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.”
- Pesticides are gone through long term, very detailed safety testing before a label is approved for a certain crop. There is no safety data for marijuana plants & pesticide usage.
- According to the Oregonian’s report:
- “Five concentrates analyzed over 78 days last year contained the chemical at levels ranging from 40 parts per million to 300 parts per million. To understand how extreme those concentrations are, consider the residue limits the federal government established for the chemical when used on food crops. Limits range from 0.02 parts per million on asparagus to 10 parts per million on grapes.”
- “Though many growers say they follow organic practices, only one of the pesticides detected in the analysis is approved for use in organic agriculture.”
- “Both labs we hired found two pesticides that should have kept his product off the market. One isn’t allowed on food crops. Another was phased out for most residential uses more than a decade ago.”
- “In all, seven chemicals were detected in the product [Dutch Treat], including bifenthrin, the pesticide on the EPA’s list of possible carcinogens. The labs detected between 0.5 and 0.8 parts per million of the pesticide, five to eight times the limit set by the state. Those findings should have prevented the product from being sold. Our analysis also found six other chemicals that aren’t covered by Oregon law.”
Currently, there are activists and legislators calling for a ban on certain pesticides and application methods because of incidents of questionable use. Just google “Aerial Spraying Oregon.” I hope these same people are just as outraged at these marijuana farmers’ blatant disregard for responsible pesticide usage. Particularly since it’s on a medicinal crop!
Makes you wonder if patients feel better from the medicinal properties of the plant or the pesticides used.
Pesticides are serious business and not to be taken lightly. Often when we spray our crops we are using less than a 12 oz pop can of product over an entire acres or a football field. When it comes to using pesticides responsibly, majority of Oregon farmers are the rule, not the exception.
Yet according to the analysis done by independent labs Oregon marijuana farmers are “soaking” their crops before harvest. This is not acceptable.
Cannabis is at a difficult crossroads in Oregon. Medical marijuana has been legal in Oregon since 1998. In November 2014 voters approved the legal use of recreational marijuana. However the marijuana farmers and hemp farmers cannot find a peaceful coexistence. They have done the worst thing possible and asked the Oregon Legislature to “help” them.
Coexistence is not a new issue in agriculture. Every other farmer in Oregon figures it out among industry groups and commodity commissions. The LAST THING they should do is ask for the legislature’s help because then no one wins and freedom is lost.
Isn’t freedom the reason why marijuana & hemp farmers wanted to be legal in the first place?
My advice for the cannabis farmers – If you want your crop to be legal then follow the same rules every other farmer follows, that includes following the pesticide label. Do not ask the legislature for help because you will not like the results. Mimic what all other crops have done before you and self regulate your industry. Self-regulation includes advocating for responsible & legal pesticide use on crops.