The Pesticide Dilemma

The use of pesticides in cannabis cultivation is a web of unregulated, high-risk confusion. What’s next?

State health inspectors entered New Jersey’s largest marijuana dispensary in August. Tucked away inside a cabinet, they found a sealed container of pesticide.

Unused as it was, the container landed the dispensary in trouble, and highlighted an issue that is creating legal and regulatory waves across the industry, including a first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit in Colorado over the use of chemical substances to improve the quality and yield of the cannabis plant.

Garden State Dispensary (GSD) is licensed and legal in New Jersey, a state that allows patients to use medical marijuana for various health conditions. But growers are banned from using pesticides on plants, and regulators cited the dispensary even though it had not used the chemicals found.

GSD owner Michael Weisser told in September that the dispensary had considered using the...

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