NPR Report: Northern California – Are Fungicides Used In Wineries Leeching Into Cannabis Grows

The article covers a lot more than this but the issue of rules & regs on cannabis growing compared to other crops keeps coming to the fore. At some point it’s going to come to a head and end up in court.

Here’s the introduction to the piece

The Santa Rita Hills, nestled in Santa Barbara County, are ideal for pinot noir, a notoriously finicky grape. That’s why Kathy Joseph came here to plant Fiddlestix Vineyard.

“The plants are over 20 years old, which comes through in the wines we make. The topography is just right; the proximity to the ocean is incredible,” Joseph says. “Difficult to find a pinot noir district this good.”

Neighboring grape vines extend to the west as far as the eye can see. In the other direction, there’s a new neighbor in town. This spring, a cannabis farmer started building hoop houses on the 100-acre parcel. So far, a quarter of the land is growing pot. Joseph has seen plenty of vegetable farms there before.

“We’ve lived together with other vegetables, lettuces and cauliflower, and broccoli and snap peas, and walnuts very happily,” she says.

Kathy Joseph looks out over the recently planted cannabis farm from her ATV. Her pinot noir grapevines are growing to her right.

Claire Heddles/NPR

But this new crop is different. In June, Joseph learned that the fungicide she has been spraying on her grapes for decades could be drifting onto the cannabis. Unlike food crops, cannabis can’t be sold if there’s any trace of fungicide or pesticide in it,according to state law. So while the county investigates, she’s using a more expensive and far less effective spray on the grapevines that are nearest to the cannabis farm.

“We may lose crop because we can’t protect it,” Joseph says.

Joseph, and other Santa Barbara County residents in the southern city of Carpinteria, say the county has been excessively permissive toward cannabis.

“I have nothing against cannabis. It existed whether it was legal or not legal, and this just allows it to be controlled a little bit more responsibly,” Joseph says. “But that isn’t what happened.”

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