Illegal Pesticide Widely Used in California Pot’s Grows
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – May 31, 2018
California's ecology is threatened by a highly toxic and forbidden pesticide, used on illegal pot farms. Officials say this problem has forced them to combine efforts to face it.
The federal, state and local law enforcement officials are spending $2.5 million from the Trump administration in 2018 to crack down on drug trafficking. U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said there is so much illegal weed being grown on federal lands and trafficked to other states that he doesn't have the resources to target the world's largest legal recreational marijuana market.
Despite expectations after pot legalization in California, which went into effect this January, the problem has gotten worse, said Scott. The problem of illegal growing operations and contaminated lands is “biblical in proportion,” he added. “The chemicals have gone to a different level.”
“Carbofuran is in the water, and it’s not supposed to be,” said Ecologist Mourad Gabriel of Integral Ecology Research Center. “How are we going to mitigate something like that?
Carbofuran poisoning can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, uncontrollable muscle twitching, convulsions, and even death, according to the National Institutes of Health.
By information provided by San Francisco Chronicle, The growers clear-cut trees, remove native vegetation, cause erosion, shoot deer and other animals, and litter the landscape with garbage and human waste. They also divert hundreds of millions of gallons of water from streams and creeks, and the runoff is generally contaminated with pesticides, which are also found in the plants, soil, and wildlife in the area.
This year, 70 percent of endangered spotted owls tested near sites that had been used for illegal marijuana cultivation were found to have one rodenticide or more in their systems, officials said. One owl died, leaving a clutch of eggs. Last year, 43 poisoned animals were found, including deer, bears, foxes, coyotes, rabbits and rare Pacific fishers. Another 47 animals had been shot, most likely by illegal growers, authorities said.
“It’s much harder to produce clean cannabis. It takes discipline, time and paying attention,” said Brian McCall, owner, and operator of Blue Belly Farms, which grows pesticide-free cannabis in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
“There are so many ways to fail,” he said. “You can’t sell it if it’s not in compliance with the new state law. The stuff that fails is going to go to the black market — or across state lines.”