As commercial cannabis operations become more common throughout California, growers increasingly face daunting legal risks from the use of certain pesticides. In every agricultural enterprise, pesticides are a significant aid. But some carry a threat to the health of workers and community members.
How to Manage Pesticide Risks
In a close review of the data on pesticides in general, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) considers the risk of a pesticide as a combination of two factors:
- Toxicity: Not all pesticides carry an inherent risk to humans, but many do. Even toxic pesticides have a range of health effects, from minor to major. Ideally, a grower may wish to use pesticides that have been proven entirely safe, but this may not be feasible due to a variety of factors, including the efficacy, availability, and cost of such products.
- Exposure: Farmers, retailers, and customers will all be exposed to cannabis crops to varying degrees.
Managing exposure levels can help to mitigate some of the risks of using a pesticide that contains toxic ingredients. This is most easily done by providing resources and implementing guidelines to reduce your employees’ exposure and ensuring pesticides are removed from any products before shipping. A Proposition 65 warning label is required to be included on all packaging.
How Harmful Are Pesticides Used for Cannabis?
The science on how harmful commonly used pesticides remains inconclusive, meaning that we do not yet know which ones are harmful. That does not mean that growers are in the clear. Growers must carefully consider each potential pesticide and their policies related to the handling of each pesticide extremely carefully before use.
If you are producing a product meant for consumption, you already understand the risks of pesticide use. It is best to proceed with extreme caution when it comes to cannabis production, which has only just attained legal status in California and remains illegal on the federal level.