It’s weed in opposition to weed in elements of rural Oklahoma, because the state’s medical marijuana growers conflict with conventional agriculture producers over the usage of herbicides and pesticides.
State Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber, stated disputes have arisen because the state entered its grass-growing season and hashish growers tried to cease agriculture producers from spraying pastures due to fears the chemical compounds would drift, by accident snuffing out their new neighbors’ profitable marijuana crops.
Whereas most farmers try to spray on windless days, specialists acknowledge that herbicides and pesticides can by accident drift onto surrounding properties. Farmers are nervous they might be held liable if their herbicide or pesticide inadvertently reaches a develop home, killing or making a hashish crop unusable.
Some develop homes, in the meantime, have been constructed proper as much as the property line, Lowe stated, and others have develop operations subsequent to roadways, complicating efforts by counties and the Oklahoma Division of Transportation to make use of chemical compounds to regulate weed progress alongside public roadways.
He stated the difficulty has grown extra urgent because of the explosion of develop operations. Medical marijuana licensing information present there are greater than 2,000 develop operations across the state. Lowe’s dwelling county of Grady has 307 licensed develop operations alone, together with 4 inside a two-mile radius of his dwelling.
“They’re scattered round all by means of the counties. It’s not like they’re simply in a bit of place or two, it’s in every single place,” Lowe stated.
Lowe, who raises present sheep, sprays his grazing land to remove weeds.
He’s co-sponsoring an interim research exploring methods medical marijuana growers and conventional agriculture can coexist.
“For probably the most half these incidents are remoted, however the motive that it’s so extreme is simply the fee and the worth of a crop,” stated Chip Paul, an advocate for the medical marijuana trade. “An acre of marijuana is price considerably greater than an acre of wheat or an acre of cotton.”
He stated the difficulty must be regulated, maybe requiring conventional agriculture producers to provide marijuana growers a head’s up earlier than they start to spray their fields, and maybe by requiring favorable wind situations earlier than they’re allowed to obtain a sprig allow.
Paul stated farmers have at all times been respectful of one another and until it’s important for his or her livelihood, have been prepared to change what they’re doing out of respect for his or her neighbors.
“For some motive, the hashish grower simply isn’t accepted into that neighborhood proper but,” Paul added.
Lee Rhoades, laboratory program oversight supervisor with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, stated pesticides are regulated by the Environmental Safety Company, which establishes allowable quantities on meals merchandise. However the EPA has not accredited or designated pesticide thresholds for hashish, so Oklahoma, like different states, has adopted the place that there isn’t a allowable quantity. The lab assessments for the presence of pesticides on marijuana crops, and beneath the present guidelines there isn’t a remediation allowed for hashish that assessments optimistic for pesticides, that means it can’t be offered or transferred.
He additionally famous that medical marijuana is consumed in a different way than different meals as a result of some customers smoke it, inhaling the smoke into their lungs, successfully bypassing practically all the physique’s protection mechanisms by going straight into the blood stream. Some pesticides when ignited additionally create poisonous compounds like hydrogen cyanide, Rhoades stated.
He stated that presently a comparatively small proportion of batches are failing due to pesticide utilization.
“After all as you’ll be able to think about, they get upset about that,” Rhoades stated, including that among the growers are blaming pesticide drift.
The Oklahoma Wheat Fee deferred remark to the state’s Wheat Growers Affiliation. Neither that group nor the Oklahoma Farm Bureau responded to requests for remark.
State Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee, one other co-sponsor of the interim research, additionally stated most farmers attempt to spray when there isn’t a wind, however followers inside the develop homes are exacerbating the difficulty by sucking the pesticides onto the marijuana crops.
“I feel as a legislature we must be conscientious of constructing certain we’re setting the suitable pointers for the long run if we’re going to have this,” Newton stated. “We’ve sort of obtained the Wild West occurring proper now.”
He additionally stated the difficulty is particularly urgent in western Oklahoma the place farmers usually depend on no-till farming strategies in an effort to protect water. It’s not unusual for a farmer to spray his crop with some type of herbicide at the least twice a 12 months, Newton stated.
Newton additionally stated any new laws would seemingly must be grandfathered in in order to not influence present companies, although lawmakers have additionally checked out starting to restrict the variety of develop operations as licenses start to run out.
“Granted we’re late to the ballgame, nevertheless it’s higher to be late than not present up in any respect,” Newton stated.
Janelle Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and web sites. Attain her at email@example.com.