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The Human Health Aspect of Illegal Marijuana

Tractor spraying wheat field with pesticide

Rules for pesticide use is a major issue for states legalizing marijuana. Much of the weed sold in the U.S. has been cultivated using harmful chemicals. Quantifying the problem is a major issue still, because of the lack of regulation and sufficient research on the effects of smoking or vaping these substances. The federal government is not taking an interest in the legalization of marijuana at the state level; therefore, the EPA does not fund studies on insecticides or fungicides for weed. The interest of federal government is important because of the increase in cultivation of weed. State-level legalization has encouraged growth and, consequently, pesticide use has increased. In the absence of EPA guidelines, state governments must rely on guesswork when deciding which pesticides to allow and which to ban.

There are approximately 42 million regular cannabis users in the U.S., but there isn’t enough data for estimating the number of users that have fallen sick due to marijuana pesticides. The symptoms of substances like bifenazate and myclobutanil can include nausea and vomiting; unfortunately, weed pesticides isn’t widely recognized as a cause for these symptoms.

Probably, only seven percent of marijuana on the U.S. market is screened for toxic chemicals. While the sale of cannabis is legal in states like Washington and Oregon, at least a third of the weed sold there is sold on the black market. A marijuana pesticide that many illegal growers use is carbofuran, a potentially deadly substance that is banned in the U.S. To put things in perspective, there were over 60 pesticide-related marijuana recalls in Colorado during the service of Andrew Freedman, ex-marijuana coordination director in Colorado.

California will probably be the front line in the fight against toxic weed-related pesticides. Marijuana became legal in the state at the beginning of the year. In the absence of federal assistance, lawmakers tried to set strict rules for ensuring that legal weed is uncontaminated. The regulations are expected to take effect in July this year. How effectively will the state be able to enforce those rules? A lot of growers are nonconformists by nature – they are the type of people who dislike the government and their rules. There is, of course, the money factor as well. If a grower gets a better price in an unregulated market, they may prefer to sell there. Since California provides most of the cannabis available in the U.S., the health of a substantial portion of the population depends on the government convincing illegal sellers to enter the legal framework.

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