WHITE CITY (OregonLive) — Huge piles of moldy marijuana in Southern Oregon are going up in smoke this fall after record rains in October took a toll on many crops.
“At first I was freaking out about how much we are losing,” said Brent Kenyon, a cannabis activist who helped craft the state’s rules on pot. “But I’ve heard a lot of really sad stories from people who lost a majority of their crops.”
Kenyon estimates about 20 percent or more of his crop will be burned at his farm near White City, reports the Mail Tribune.
Overall, this will be a tough year for growers, who faced an onslaught of russet mites in the summer and then mold in the fall, Kenyon said. The mold destroys the marijuana flowers and spreads quickly, particularly after heavy rains.
Jackson County has one-third of all commercial marijuana grow sites in the state, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Kenyon has held several bonfires using moldy marijuana stacked about 10 feet high. He likens his losses to the pears that drop on the ground in orchards throughout the valley.
“We had an acceptable loss given the circumstances,” he said.
To combat these problems, Kenyon said he expects many growers turned to pesticides or fungicides, but the amount being used could likely exceed the limits allowed under state testing rules.
“I’m expecting an 80-percent fail rate as they test for pesticides,” he said.
Kenyon said the new testing requirements are so vigorous they’re picking up on chemicals used to spray telephone poles that drift into nearby gardens.
Kenyon, who owns The Wharf restaurant in Medford and runs various marijuana-related businesses including a consulting firm, Kenyon and Associates, said he will be pushing for higher thresholds for pesticides at the state level.
“You can buy table grapes in the store that have more pesticides than cannabis,” he said.