Marijuana cultivation can be very challenging if you have to battle with mold and bug infestations. The simple solution to these problems is to use chemical pesticides to kill the bugs or mold – but at what cost?
Colorado marijuana sales are booming, but recently 2 marijuana users, including one with cancer, filed a lawsuit against LivWell a chain of Colorado marijuana dispensaries. The lawsuit alleges that LivWell used the pesticide Eagle 20 EW, an antifungal, in the production of their cannabis. Eagle 20 EW is commonly used to prevent mold and mildew on grapes and hops.
Eagle 20 EW contains the chemical myclobutanil, that when burned, produces the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide. The recent lawsuit against LivWell seeks penalties in the form of retribution for using Eagle 20 EW, a pesticide not listed on Colorado’s safe pesticides list for marijuana. Interestingly, Eagle 20 EW is not specifically banned nor approved by Colorado, so the lawsuit is attempting to set a new precedent.
Another marijuana produced, Green Cross that owns the popular edible company EdiPure, recently recalled 20,000 units of their edible products because of pesticide contamination. EdiPure uses trim purchased from TruCannabis to infuse its marijuana foods. TruCannabis was recently involved in a voluntary recall of its products because of suspected pesticide use. Green Cross CEO Mark Smith said,
“You have no idea when you’re buying and bringing product into your facility. At that time in April, there was no requirement or notice that this had pesticides. Only after the fact did they find out.”
The crackdown by the Denver Department of Environmental Health began in March of 2015. The initiative began by seizing more than 100,000 live cannabis plants that were suspected of pesticide contamination. The increased controls implemented by the Department of Environmental Health have forced marijuana cultivators to introduce new quality control standards in their facilities.
For some time, marijuana commerce has been based on trust between members of the industry. As competition in the industry becomes more cutthroat each day, some cultivators are trying to cut corners by using pesticides. The result – a loss of trust by customers and cultivators.
Though 2 people have brought a lawsuit against LivWell, there are no official cases of pesticide-related illnesses in the state. This does not mean that people have not gotten sick from LivWell products, some folks may have gotten sick without knowing their marijuana was the cause.
Currently, Colorado law requires dispensaries to label all pesticides used at any point in the cultivation process on their packaging. Oddly, this practice has not been enforced in the first 22 months of legalization in the state.
Currently, the Colorado Department of Agriculture is pushing to create new, more rigorous rules regarding pesticide use in marijuana cultivation. The proposed rules provide pesticide manufacturers with the opportunity to test their products on marijuana, and if deemed safe for human consumption, exemptions will be given to the respected products.
If you suspect something is off with your marijuana, speak up. Cultivators will continue to push the legal limits in order to increase revenues unless we call them out on their practices. Make sure your packages are labeled and don’t be afraid to question your budtenders about the pesticide content of your purchases.
Have you been a victim of pesticide use on marijuana? Let us know on social media.