Tuesday, October 20, 2009
LA City Attorney Wrong About Pesticide Proving Links Between Medical Marijuana & Mexican Drug Cartels
LA City Attorney Dead Wrong
By Michael Backes
Vol 7 Issue 86
Pub: Oct 20, 2009
LA City Attorney, Mr. Carmen Trutanich, has been all over the media
trying to convince Los Angeles that a pesticide used to kill Mexican
fire ants is evidence that medical cannabis provided by dispensaries is
poisonous and supporting Mexican drug cartels.
According to Mr. Trutanich, three samples of medical marijuana from
"controlled buys" by undercover LAPD were tested by an FDA laboratory.
On these samples, Mr Trutanich said the lab found high concentrations of
an insecticide uncommon in California that is used to kill fire ants in
Mexico. Trutanich claims this Mexican fire ant insecticide is evidence
that LA medical cannabis is being supplied by the Mexican drug cartels.
Except... There are no Mexican fire ants. There is the notorious red
imported fire ant - solenopsis invicta - but that's from Brazil, not
Mexico. Those fire ants were accidentally imported into the US in the
1930's then spread across the southern United States. Fire ants were
never found in Mexico, until they crossed the Texas border into northern
Mexico a few years back. The range of fire ants has not extended deeply
Pesticide testing is not a trivial exercise. It requires very sensitive
machines that are capable of detecting just a few molecules. The FDA
certainly has these machines, but were the samples provided by Mr.
Pesticide testing requires a large plant sample to produce precise
results. EMA, one of the largest testing labs in California, requires a
minimum 200 gram sample. No marijuana dispensary in LA sells cannabis
in 200 gram lots. It's more likely that Mr Trutanich would have had
much smaller samples tested, with a much higher risk of error in the
There are no pesticide residue tolerances established for cannabis by
the EPA, the FDA or The California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
It takes careful research to establish these tolerances on a
pesticide-by- pesticide basis, but that work has not been done. This
research is important, because the acceptable ranges vary by plant
The insecticide that Mr Trutanich claims was found on his samples of
cannabis was bifenthrin. Bifenthrin belongs to a common class of
insecticides called pyrethroids.
Mr Trutanich claims that California restricts the use of bifenthrin
because of its toxicity to humans. Mr. Trutanich is incorrect.
California restricts the use of bifenthrin because of its high toxicity
to fish, not mammals or humans. And, according to the California
Department of Pesticide Regulation, California farmers used 107,000
pounds of bifenthrin on their crops in 2007. They used it on corn,
almonds, strawberries, even wine grapes. Fifty tons of it.
Mr. Trutanich stated to FOX NEWS, "it's not enough to say conclusively
that this dope is coming from here (Mexico), okay. but? but, you know,
if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, you know, chances are that
if you look a little closer, you may be dealing with a duck."
Well... if it makes scientific claims like a duck, it might just be the
LA City Attorney.
California cannabis patients should be protected from contaminants in
That protection comes from intelligent regulations, something that the
City Attorney's office has been stalling for two years.
Perhaps it's time we stopped wasting tax money planning to raid medical
marijuana facilities and start regulating them.
(Michael Backes - board member, Cornerstone Research Collective, a
California nonprofit corporation, Eagle Rock.)
http://www.citywatc hla.com/content/ view/2816/