Smoke it up kids!
Yup, last year my home state legalized the use, sale, growing and distribution of marijuana. Not just for medical purposes either. Since then the state government has been working to figure out the best regulations to have in place and standards to keep the product safely managed. This is going to be quite a money maker for Washington…I hope Colorado finally gets their butts moving.
Recently the WA Department of Agriculture released a list of 200 pesticides that can be used on marijuana plants. The thing is, since this plant has been illegal for the last thirty-fourty years there are not EPA standards regarding the use of pesticides on this plant. I’ve tried a few quick searches online to get a hold of this list but so far I haven’t found it. I could just not be looking hard enough. According to KUOW, a local NPR/PRI station in western Washington, this list has earned “praise” for its comprehensiveness. I’m looking forward to seeing this list.
Aside from possible mold problems or attacks from overeager cats, there are some legitimate concerns in regard to pests of this plant. According to RollitUp.org pests include: Mealybugs, Aphids, Spider Mites, Whiteflies, Thrips, Beetles, Caterpillars and a few others. Basically, your pest concerns are going to be consistent with most other plants grown in similar conditions. Growing in a greenhouse type environment? Be ready for mealybuggs, whiteflies, thrips and especially spider mites. Be ready for spider mites wherever you are. Those suckers are just, well, suckers. Some good recommendations are to encourage natural enemies (lacewings and lady beetles) to feed on your pests. Lacewings are especially good at this. Some of the other recommendations are maybe not so useful. Grinding up your pests and then spraying them on the plants to serve as a sort of warning to other pests? Why not just pee on the plant and call it good? And the bleach-water solution just sounds like a bad idea. But hey, feel free to smoke that bleachy-leaf bro.*
When I see the list I’ll update you on what I think. I am particularly interested in what they will recommend for organic treatment methods. And, keep in mind none of these are official recommendations. It’s just a list of 200+ things you can use. I know many who are on the everything-has-to-be-organic-raised-by-virgin-monks kick who would happily smoke a bowl. I wonder if they will be just as picky with their pot as they are with their tomato choices? There will very likely be organic and low-impact methods of dealing with pests and if you have low pest levels it probably won’t be that much of an issue anyway. IPM (Integrated Pest Management) tactics are best. Cultural and other control and treatment methods combined are the best paths to any treating any pest problem.
Just to be smart, ALL of you, if you’re using any pesticide be sure you read the labels FIRST! If it says it’s good for grubs but you have aphids, don’t use the bloody stuff. And, as always, if your plant is outdoors and flowering, be aware that it is likely attracting pollinators. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators are insects and as such, can be susceptible to insecticides.
*Sarcasm does not act as an actual endorsement for smoking bleach drenched plants of any kind. Do not sue me…my cats need to eat.