After a long time of disregard, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has provided advice on marijuana regulations to other states during a recent convention in Denver.
According to The Seattle Times, weed growing is no longer an issue of underground agriculture, so officials at the Agriculture Department are going to develop regulations and guidelines with the intention to apply established agronomy practices to weed cultivation.
Here is a summary of the agency's advice to
agriculture departments of other states regulating marijuana growing.
Mitch Yergert, head of the Colorado’s Division of Plant Industry, suggested not to delay with the industry regulations. Colorado already had a negative experience when cannabis growing was ignored for more than ten years after its legalization. As a result, the agency has to do much more work now to implement such important things as plant sampling and safety guidelines.
Yergert advised other states to hire more agriculture professionals for regulating the industry before the legalization of marijuana. Currently, Colorado employs 17 workers who are responsible for cannabis and hemp regulation. There is a great scope of work that also requires services of chemists and pesticide inspectors, so the states should include these costs into the budget beforehand.
It is very difficult to escape from the marijuana smell for agriculture inspectors when they inspect a weed growing operation. Thus, agencies should be ready that their employees will have an unpleasant skunky odor. Yergert encouraged other states’ departments to prepare their workers for this smell and provide them with time for a shower after an inspection.
When the department tried to contact the federal agencies to seek assistance in regulating such issues as labeling and pesticides, they received no reply. Federal officials are traditionally trying to ignore all things related to marijuana, so it is better to contact them directly.
Even though hemp growing remains illegal in the U.S., the agricultural officers worried that weed growers would cultivate industrial hemp to hide marijuana plants. However, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has not seen such cases.
Instead, cannabis growers try to keep their plants away from hemp, as it can reduce the potency of their marijuana.
When the agency had to collect marijuana plants for pesticide testing, they discovered that the U.S. Postal Service does not accept parcels with cannabis. Thus, other states will also have to find a way to transport the herb without police prosecution and missing samples.