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Cross-Pollination Could Cost Marijuana Farmers Several Thousand Dollars As Hemp Production Expands Nationwide

The problem with removing buffers for outdoor cultivators is growing

Outdoor marijuana growers are reporting an increase in cross-pollination from hemp farms, a development that could mean MJ cultivators might lose upwards of tens of thousands of dollars if their plants become unmarketable as flower products.

As the marijuana and hemp industries increasingly share the same cultivation territory, the number of conflicts is likely to increase, particularly in areas with thriving outdoor cannabis cultivation.

Washington state is a case in point. In April, Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5276 into law, opening the state up to hemp production in response to the 2018 Farm Bill in part by removing the previous 4-mile buffer between outdoor marijuana grows and hemp farms.

At least one marijuana farmer has experienced firsthand the consequences of this change in the law.

“We took a big hit,” said Robert Morf, who owns and operates Cheshire Creek, an outdoor marijuana cultivation operation in Waterville, Washington.

He estimated he will lose about $40,000 this year after his midsized, 600-plant farm was cross-pollinated by pollen from the male plants he said came from a neighboring hemp grower.

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