Dangerous, Banned Pesticides Finding Their Way into California Marijuana Fields – Times of San Diego

Pesticides smuggled from Mexico
Pesticides smuggled from Mexico. Photo from Justice Department environmental crimes bulletin

Deadly, banned pesticides are making their way across the international border into California, heading to large marijuana-growing operations on federal lands. 

And for end users, warns Clyde Ogg of the University of Nebraska, “Pesticide residues in cannabis that has been dried and is inhaled have a direct pathway into the bloodstream.”

It’s been an ongoing problem, and the number of arrests has been rising steadily, according to Melanie Pierson, assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern California District. Her office has filed 49 cases involving pesticide smugglers since September of 2019. She also has a long history of prosecuting environmental and wildlife cases. 

Pierson said 40 percent of all Environmental Protection Agency criminal prosecutions in the United States in 2020 involved pesticide cases. She adds that these banned pesticides are “designed to kill.”

The health threat is not only for someone smoking weed purchased  from a local dealer. It is also a serious health issue for the men and women of the U.S. Forest Service who have to deal with large growing operations in our national parks. One location near San Diego County, the San Bernardino National Forest, is a popular landing place for these pesticides.  

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