U.S.: Company Launches Initiative To Reduce Need For Pesticides On Marijuana
A long-time partner of the cannabis industry is looking to dry up the need for heavy pesticide use.
Quest Dehumidifiers, which sold its first dehumidifier to the marijuana industry in 2006, has launched an initiative to help growers and consumers better understand the impact humidity levels have on plant health, which in turn may potentially reduce the need for unpopular pesticides.
The effort comes in the wake of an increasing number of recalls, pending state regulations, and consumer demand for truly organic cannabis – all of which will continue to impact growers.
“Cultivators know humidity impacts plant growth, but we see varied levels of understanding when it comes to using dehumidification to help prevent devastating plant molds and fungus, such as powdery mildew,” said Clif Tomasini, product manager at Quest. “We want growers to know we have their back and will give them credible, evidence-based information to help them grow clean cannabis.”
Largely educational in nature, the initiative includes media partnerships, public outreach, in-person meetings with growers, potential funding of third-party research, white papers, and an increasing focus on digital content that answers growers’ biggest questions about dehumidification.
Tomasini said Quest saw a chance to help with the industry’s pesticide problem, which has garnered frequent media attention for a number of reasons. In Colorado alone, product recalls have become a regular occurrence and legislation has surfaced – but to date not passed – requiring consistent labeling for organic cannabis to prevent fraud.
“To often, we hear about problems not solutions,” Tomasini said. “We’re not saying go out and buy a bunch of dehumidifiers. We’re saying, we all need to take a closer look at how we can reduce the need for pesticides given public pressure and trends. We feel we have one part of the answer and want to put that information in the hands of growers.”
Not all the answers are currently available, due to limited research in the cannabis industry. For that reason, Quest is looking into funding independent, third-party research to study the impact dehumidification has in preventing molds and fungus that require pesticide use, a rare move for companies in the industry.
It’s clear growers see the business impact from labeling cannabis organic. According to the 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook, nearly 60 percent of wholesale marijuana cultivators claim to use chemical-free methods on all their cannabis. However, some experts believe that number likely is much lower due to the lack of oversight.
Also, many pesticides used on cannabis haven’t been studied on the plant, given that cannabis remains illegal at a federal level. That leaves a lot of question marks from a health and safety stand point.
“For the market to grow and gain credibility with the masses, we need to promote and support the same type of rigorous research and best practices used to build other industries,” Tomasini said. “Education is a great place to start, and we want to be at the forefront of that effort.”