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Over 90% of California’s Pot Farms Infected with Crop-Damaging Pathogen

Over 90% of California’s Pot Farms Infected with Crop-Damaging Pathogen

Meanwhile, the California cannabis industry is warning about and extinction level event…caused by the state’s regulation and taxation.

I recently reported that a new study linked schizophrenia to marijuana abuse in young men and that fentanyl was being laced with pot.

It turns out that Mother Nature may be helping us help ourselves and our young people. A new, crop-damaging pathogen infects a vast swath of California’s pot farms.

An infectious pathogen inside California’s pot farms is attacking cannabis plants and growing invisibly for months only to spoil a crop just as a farmer is ready to harvest. Scientists believe that it’s in nearly every pot farm in the state and could be causing billions of dollars in damages to the national weed economy.

Hop-latent viroid, or HLVd, shrivels pot plants and reduce how much weight they produce by as much as 30%. It also destroys the amount of THC, pot’s most common active compound, that a plant produces, greatly reducing the value of affected plants.

HLVd was first documented in cannabis in a pair of scientific studies published in 2019, including a study that confirmed the viroid’s presence in samples from a Santa Barbara pot farm. It’s now infected at least 90% of California’s cannabis grows, according to a 2021 estimate. It’s spreading globally, and a recent scientific paper declared the pathogen was the “biggest concern for cannabis” growers worldwide.

Viroids are small single-stranded, circular entities composed of Ribonucleic Acids (RNA). Unlike viruses, they have no protein coating.

Where a virus such as SARS-CoV-2 is made up of nearly 30,000 nucleotides —the basic building blocks of DNA and RNA— viroids only contain between 220 to 450 nucleotides. This is more than five times smaller than the smallest known virus. And since viroids lack a protein “coat” they are completely naked, nothing but RNA.

One company has developed a test that will be used to help identify and stop the spread of this pathogen.

Oakland’s Purple City Labs released a new HLVd test earlier this year that can be conducted on site and deliver results to pot farmers in just a few hours. That’s much faster than the current methods for finding HLVd infections, which are predominantly done by farmers mailing samples to labs and waiting days or even weeks to get a result.

The company said this new at-farm testing could be pivotal in slowing the spread of this global pathogen, as it allows farmers to quickly identify infected plants.

Meanwhile, the California cannabis industry is warning about an extinction level event…caused by the state’s regulation and taxation.

Debt problems have plagued the industry for years — a 2022 report estimated that the industry was collectively sitting on over $600 million in debt — but a change in tax law that took effect this year has stakeholders worried the mounting debt bubble will finally become fatal. A San Francisco politician introduced a law this year in the state legislature that would crack down on pot businesses that don’t pay their debts.

State law recently shifted the burden for paying cannabis excise taxes from distributors to retailers, with the first tax payments due May 1. Retailers have historically had the most trouble paying their bills, and it appears that many shops lack the cash to pay their state excise taxes, according to new state tax data obtained by SFGATE.

Over 13% of California’s retailers, or 265 pot shops, failed to make any tax payment by the May 1 deadline, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Those businesses are now facing a 50% penalty on the taxes they owe, which could be a death blow to many shops.

Which is deadlier: Viroids or California’s politicians? You decide.


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Oh no! Say it’s not true. How will Californians now be able to cope with rampant crime, homelessness, and stifling wholeness?

    Whitewall in reply to kelly_3406. | May 29, 2023 at 8:28 am

    Elect more Democrats……the only people who could bankrupt the weed biz. Pretty soon, people will return to the old days and “Panama Red” (that was a song) from a while back. One of the singers, if I recall, had a dog named Smokey the Dope.

    kelly_3406 in reply to kelly_3406. | May 29, 2023 at 8:53 am

    $&@?&& spellchecker (or maybe bad typist)

    Wholeness = wokeness

    henrybowman in reply to kelly_3406. | May 30, 2023 at 12:34 am

    Fat Freddy’s Cat asks: Can Democrats get you through times of no dope better than dope can get you through times of no Democrats?

    Hey, Tedros — can’t believe you entirely missed this terrifying pandemic disaster!

      henrybowman in reply to henrybowman. | May 30, 2023 at 2:32 am

      And by the way, while we’re talking about “scary pandemic candidates” —

      I am reliably informed that “ringworm” is nothing but “athlete’s foot” that isn’t on your feet. Which is the same as “jock itch” that isn’t in your crotch. All the same thing.

      Drug-resistant jock itch actually sounds pretty scary after all.

      I’m also informed that children who spend too many years infected with ringworm develop mental retardation and inability to breathe through the nose due to sinus damage. This is supposedly the origin of the “mouth-breathing retard” stereotype among… largely shoeless populations.

TrickyRicky | May 29, 2023 at 9:28 am

Cartels weeding out the competition?

Conservative Beaner | May 29, 2023 at 9:59 am

So you’re saying that pot is going to pot.

The irony that cannabis offers a miracle cure for everyone but itself.

Newsom needs to mandate masks for all cannabis plants.

“fentanyl was being laced with pot.”

If that’s not backwards we are in worse trouble than I thought.

The irony that a pathogen is causing billions of dollars of damage to a substance which itself causes billions of dollars of damage. If the pathogen can’t be stopped, it might mean the collapse of the videogame market and a real estate crisis as a glut of unoccupied Mom’s basements hits the market

chrisboltssr | May 29, 2023 at 11:29 am

Other than the virus attacking the plants, I foresaw all of this stupidity happening with the weed industry when this nonsense about legalization was in its infancy. Now, it’s available for all to see. There was no way weed legalization would work because the state can’t help themselves to tax everything into oblivion and it did not do anything to stop the black market sale of weed, in fact, legalization has made the black market more vibrant and profitable.

But hey! let’s keep going down this road. When DUI arrests exceed those of drunk drivers as well as deaths associated with weed legalizers will have no place to turn to to support their nonsensical view that it was a bright idea to legalize weed.

oh thats gonna leave a burn mark.
get it….

How did an infectious agent get to “nearly every pot farm in the state”? There has to be some pathway.

Karma’s a b*tch.

What a shame…

BierceAmbrose | May 29, 2023 at 4:17 pm

Hey, Gaia, back off. Killing our industries is our job!

NY Stare did better than Cali with the pseudo-legalization — the 75-ish page “law” got nearly no farms, distributors, and killed all the dispensaries that spun up in anticipation. Of course, nothing in there about the people previously convicted.

Legalization changed pot farming – the bulk of it transferred to indoor warehouses. This change in method increased the possibility for contagion.

Which is hilariously ironic considering …
industrialized methods of production opposed by the pseudo-marxist-vegan class and their insistence on “free range” and “cage free” methods of poultry and beef growing.

The Marxists never live by their own rules. They did away with “free range” pot growing and… lol.

What’s going on here? The headline made me think this article was about Burn Loot Murder attacking pot farmers and their garbage dumps. The actual article is just about plant viruses.

Bummer, man. Totally.

I blame global warming.