To add some substance to the discussion of unfair and illegal State discrimination against the Cannabis grower, user and business community, here are the results of tests I ran on products of the Cannabis industry’s biggest competitor at a well-known Portland Cannabis lab in December 2018. As you can see, unlike every legal Cannabis producer or manufacturer, Tobacco Cartel companies appear to have no issues at all with pesticide residue compliance.
What the hell is going on? Cannabis growers are forced to do the compliance dance until they drop while Tobacco Cartel companies don’t have to break a sweat.
This should be pissing a lot of people off, but so far I don’t see it happening. The legal Cannabis user, grower and business communities have been forced to suck up to petty regulators for so long that I’m wondering if some of the original revolutionary spirit has been drained out of us. Sure, Cannabis is legal now in a lot of places, and that’s wonderful, but do we really need to be so goddamn polite to representatives of the predatory State that just lost its 70 year-long battle to impose total Cannabis tyranny on us? They can’t slam us in jail anymore so they’re trying to drown us in paper.
Do we really have to be nice to the simpering bureaucrats who, as long as we “comply”, will graciously if reluctantly permit us grow, enjoy, make a living and even heal ourselves with this gift of nature? Maybe it would be OK to suck it up and be nice to these officious officials if they were on a legitimate mission of public health and safety, but they’re not.
As I look around at all the posturing of legal state legislatures and agencies, and all the power and money games being played by people who could give a shit about Cannabis, and all the assholes who never gave Cannabis a second thought now trying to grab a ride, I’m thinking there’s entirely too much bootlicking, hat-tipping groveling going on toward these self-appointed Cannabis regulators and deciders. They are simply opportunistic predatory parasites, not guardians of public health.
The 2013 Cole Memo from the US Justice Department is a prime example of this hideous hypocrisy. Part of the deal is that in order to keep the Feds off their backs states and growers must pro-actively “prevent adverse public health consequences” from pesticide use on Cannabis crops. Really? But Mr. Justice Department, what about all those pesticides on products being sold by your friends down at the Tobacco Cartel? Oh, they’re exempt. I see.
As an example of how this horseshit works, a grower in Colorado who produces 25 strains per cultivation site must have each strain must be tested at a cost of $100 per strain per week. Because she operates two grows, that’s $5,000 a week for her business, or $30,000 for the year. She already grows responsibly, and she knows she’s facing testing with each batch, so of course she grows responsibly and those expensive tests turn up exactly zero violations.
Her Tobacco Cartel competitors face zero costs, zero compliance regulations, zero testing of their products, and zero penalties for violations because there aren’t officially any violations. Yet we know for a fact, from the hard data above, that Tobacco products are heavily contaminated with exactly the pesticides and fungicides that Cannabis growers cannot allow on their crop.
It’s time to call bullshit. I say fuck them all, but more than that, I say make them pay. And here’s how the Cannabis community can act together to make that happen.
The state governments, at the direction of the Federal government, allow Tobacco Cartel companies to manufacture and sell tobacco products with zero pesticide residue compliance regulations or costs. In contrast, Cannabis growers in every legal state have to comply with detailed, costly pesticide and fungicide residue standards. If these standards are violated huge financial and even criminal penalties can be imposed on Cannabis growers or businesses by state regulators. This varies from state to state, but the leading Cannabis states have the strictest compliance regulations – but just on Cannabis and Cannabis products.
Cannabis legal states are is violating the Equal Protection clause by imposing pesticide testing regulations on the Cannabis industry that are not imposed on an absolutely equivalent industry – Big Tobacco. The Tobacco Cartel is free to sell its contaminated products without any testing or regulation, but the Cannabis industry is forced to comply with regulations that can make it impossible for some small growers to stay in business.
By imposing pesticide testing on Cannabis growers but not on “Big Tobacco”, states clearly violate the “Equal Protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. These discriminatory, anti-Cannabis laws hurt everyone in the community – Cannabis producers, Medical Cannabis patients, Recreational Cannabis smokers, physicians and clinics, dispensaries and retailers.
So under current laws in every Cannabis-legal state, one group of legal smoking & vaping products producers, the Tobacco Cartel companies, is 100% exempt from compliance-related pesticide residue costs while another group of legal smoking/vaping products producers, Cannabis growers and businesses, face heavy costs even if they are never in violation. The Feds and the States are favoring one direct competitor over another and hiding their complicity in a major public health issue – the contamination of tobacco products with pesticides – while acting righteous all the way to the bank. What crap.
The same States that impose high taxes on Cannabis buyers to fund huge new bureaucracies with the irrefutable mission of “protecting the children” from the dangers of Cannabis happily enable Tobacco Cartel companies to sell their pesticide-contaminated products to underage smokers who smoke/vape tobacco products without a clue to what they’re inhaling. And nobody in the entire apparatus erected to regulate pesticides in Cannabis gives a shit.
Come on in ‘baccy boyz – the door’s wide open, just for you. Oh, we’ll pretend we hate your nasty old tobacco products, and we’ll spend huge amounts of tax money, hundreds of millions of dollars paying very nice salaries for lots of us public servants, to “educate” all you idiots not to smoke, but when it comes to actually regulating pesticide residues in tobacco products in the interests of public health – tough.
Any one of the checked residues in the data above, if found in a Cannabis product, would result in immediate, harsh action, but there is no regulation of these toxic chemicals at all on any of the products of the Tobacco Cartel being sold in Cannabis-legal states and competing directly with Cannabis growers and businesses. This puts businesses in every Cannabis-legal state at an enormous unfair competitive disadvantage. It is discrimination by the State, pure and simple.
I’ve talked with growers who say that they already grow as organically as possible anyway, with or without regulations, but no matter how clean you grow you still have mandatory pesticide residue testing and that costs significant money. Not the Tobacco Cartel companies. They don’t have to limit their use of pesticides and fungicides, and their products are never tested, so they have no pesticide residue compliance costs. Heck, the US government doesn’t even care about pesticides in tobacco products. Neither do the states, nor the anti-tobacco” parasites.
“Because use of tobacco products, with or without pesticide residues, is so hazardous to health, all of the Oregon Health Authority’s efforts around tobacco are aimed at discouraging use of tobacco products and encouraging cessation of tobacco use in people already using it.” Oregon Health Authority 2018
“EPA does not assess intermediate or long-term risks of pesticide residues to smokers because of the severity of health effects linked to use of tobacco products themselves.” EPA 2018
“Organic” “natural” or “additive-free” product labels may imply a healthier or safer choice, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to tobacco products. A cigarette with organic tobacco or tobacco with no additives does not make it healthier or safer than other cigarettes.” Truth Initiative 2018
Growing premium Cannabis with minimal pesticides and fungicides is highly labor intensive, and labor costs eat away at margins faster than almost anything in growing. So every Cannabis grower in the US who uses paid labor is dedicating a significant part of their working capital to labor costs, and that affects their ability to compete on a level field.
Tobacco Cartel companies don’t have any pesticide residue compliance costs to incentivize them to use labor instead of chemicals. While tobacco grown in the US is sometimes tested for pesticides unofficially at the grower level, the Cartel companies always retain the “right” to self-certify – no pesticides on this batch here, just in case anyone is asking, which they aren’t. Good to go.
However the point is moot because most American tobacco products aren’t made with US-grown tobacco. Tobacco from major Third World sources like Brazil and Dominican Republic is all heavily contaminated with pesticides and fungicides, but there aren’t any inspections of imported tobacco and thus there are no compliance costs for the Cartel.
I’m offering all this background to demonstrate that Tobacco Cartel companies are given a huge, unfair competitive advantage in more than one way. While growers and businesses in the Cannabis community can’t necessarily do more than complain to deaf ears on the Federal level, on the state level legislators ought to be given the opportunity to hear from Cannabis grower and business community members directly, in their face.
The real stakeholders in all this are the people that Cannabis growers and businesses care most about, the greater community of those who love Cannabis. Since so many Cannabis smokers and vapers are also tobacco product users, why should Cannabis growers and businesses stand by while Tobacco Cartel companies poison their Cannabis customers while enjoying a free Federal and state pass to do so? Why not begin advocating on behalf of smokers and vapers of any and all substances – nobody should be poisoned for profit, knowingly and recklessly by manufacturers seeking only increased profits, not the health and well-being of their customers. For that matter, why not demand that Cannabis growers and businesses be able to produce and sell organic tobacco products?
Cannabis growers and businesses have an enormous moral high ground here that is wide open, right in front of us, and ready for occupancy. If the Tobacco Cartel doesn’t give a shit about smokers of their products, let’s grab the organic Tobacco market. It’s just sitting there, and organic Cannabis plus organic Tobacco are as natural a pair as ever was. The Tobacco Cartel has been praying that nobody would see their weak spot, and so far nobody has. Pesticides and fungicides, oh my. Somebody isn’t playing fair.