Pot Pesticide Contamination in Denver Grows?

Monsanto pesticides being mixed on a farm.
Monsanto pesticides being mixed on a farm.
USDA.gov

Six marijuana grows in Denver were ordered to quarantine and possibly destroy plant harvests after Denver Fire Department officials determined that the grow facilities weren’t using chemicals properly. Bugs and pests are a fact of life for commercial growers, but dealing with them appropriately is important, because eventually, humans will consume the pot.

Earlier this month, the City of Denver released a bulletin warning grows about the improper use of pesticides. Because of the fire department’s recent discovery, the city has ordered all licensed pot grows in the city to send in a pesticide report by April 1. “Pesticides and agricultural chemicals must be used in accordance with the product label and with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations. Improper use of pesticides on marijuana can raise serious public health concerns,” the bulletin reads.

The catch is that the federal agency in charge of regulating pesticide use, the Environmental Protection Agency, doesn’t have acceptable levels for use on cannabis— since cannabis is illegal on a federal level. The Colorado Department of Agriculture lacks official guidelines, too, beyond suggesting that growers not use any pesticides that haven’t been specifically “tested, labeled and assigned a set tolerance” for pot growing.

The CDA does have an unofficial list of pesticides that can be used on “unspecified crops” that are intended for human consumption, however. And the state Marijuana Enforcement Division has a strict list of allowed pesticides, as well as instructions for how grow owners have to store and dispose of them. State law also requires that shops write up standard operating procedures for all pesticide applications.

In Denver, dispensaries will now be required to submit a list of every pesticide used and how much of it is used; copies of those records must be kept at the facility where the marijuana is grown. Additionally, grows must send lists of pesticides and information on their safety to the Denver Fire Department, and a sign must be placed on the door of every grow room listing any and all pesticides used. Those businesses that don’t comply could face fines and closures. The city also says that the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment will be inspecting cultivation sites, as well as infused-product manufacturing sites.

Click here to read the entire City of Denver bulletin.


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