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Marijuana Plants Need Pesticide Control

Cannabis growers have battled with microscopic insects and mold over the years while marijuana has been considered an illegal drug.  With no reliable research to suggest ways to fight infestations, growers have turned towards using industrial-strength chemicals to rid their crops of spider mites and mold, which has raised major concerns.  

Frank Conrad, lab director for Colorado Green Lab which tests marijuana in Denver, stated, "We have an industry that's been illegal for so many years that there's no research. There's no guidelines. There's nothing."  Although there have been no reports of any human illness traced to chemicals used on marijuana, there are still concerns.  After the tens of thousands of cannabis plants were sprayed with unauthorized pesticides, the city of Denver quarantined those plants at 11 growing facilities after the suspicions were made by the health inspectors.  Two producers voluntarily destroyed their plants while others were later released after the tests proved the marijuana was safe.  There are still at least eight businesses that have their plants in quarantine.

The federal government, which still considers cannabis an illicit drug, is in control of the distribution of pesticides and herbicides.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which decides which pesticides can be used on which crops, told Colorado and Washington authorities they are able to apply to have some cannabis-related chemicals approved through a "special local need registration," a process which can take years.  

Growers are still not encouraged by the government's will to take action against pesticide control for marijuana cultivation.  Denver's director of marijuana policy, Ashley Kilroy said, "We were taken by surprise, this whole pesticide issue," in a room full of 200 pot-industry workers invited to lunch earlier this month to learn about pesticide quarantines and rules.