- The ability of cannabis to extract dangerous heavy metals from the soil has a dark side, especially in states where the soil may still have some old contaminants lurking within.
- As the industry grows in states where the soil may still have some old contaminants lurking within them, outdoor cannabis growers are confronted with a wide range of dangerous heavy metal contaminants that could get into their plant.
- This includes Pennsylvania, where abandoned coal mine runoff carries high levels of heavy metals that get into the soil through the water; Nevada, where researchers are looking at the possibility of radioactive material contaminating ground water used in agriculture in one of the state’s well-known farming corridors, where a large marijuana company is planting 10 acres of marijuana this spring; and Hawaii, where volcanic activity creates deposits of lead and mercury.
- Colorado, which has gold mine runoff issues adding heavy metals to alpine streams, has another unusual heavy metals generator.
- Testing soil for one contaminant one day does not guarantee that that contaminant will not find its way back into the soil another day, either through the air or through the water used to irrigate the marijuana crop.
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