Toxic Pesticides Used In California Illegal Grows


Illegal cannabis farms have been raising red flags with authorities and researchers. There are a wide range of pesticides and insecticides that can be dangerous, but Carbofuran is what is raising concerns. 


According to federal prosecutors, most of the illegally grown California pot is destined for Midwestern and Eastern states and now, the federal and state authorities are now targeting the illegal grows with a federal budget of $2.5 million. 


Researcher Mourad Gabriel told The Associated Press that Carbofuran, a highly toxic pesticide, was found at 72% of grow sites last year, which is up 15% from 2012.  The chemical, he says, is intended for use as an insecticide but is so powerful that a quarter of a teaspoon can kill a 300-pound bear. "What is happening here is illegal for all purposes under anybody's law," Gabriel stated. 


Before legalization, users were concerned about the uncertainty of products being used during the growing process. However, authorities say the rise in Carbofuran use poses an increased danger. The pesticide cannot be legally used in the United States, and every bottle found at the grow sites since 2012 has been labeled in Spanish according to Gabriel.


Those who have been apprehended for using Carbofuran have disclosed to Gabriel, "...they are saying to us is this is extremely effective — it takes a little amount to kill a deer or a bear — so we don't need to bring a lot of it to last a season."


At normal levels, a typical bottle containing less than 1 liter should be diluted with up to 5,000 gallons of water, Gabriel stated. Illegal growers, however, are diluting it with no more than 5 gallons of water to spray plants, or using the concentrate directly to kill wildlife. At that concentration, the chemical takes at least 2 ½ years to dissipate instead of roughly a month if it is used at recommended dilutions.