Bipartisan congressional lawmakers have reintroduced a bill aimed at tackling the illicit grows of marijuana happening on federal lands. The TOXIC Act, which is the Targeting and Offsetting Existing Illegal Contaminants Act, not only hopes to protect consumers from being exposed to banned pesticides but also focuses on environmental protection.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) and covers two key areas: it will provide up to $250 million in funding for the US Forest Service over five years to remediate dangerous pesticide usage, and it will increase criminal penalties for those found guilty of using banned pesticides illegally. These penalties can include fines up to $250,000 and prison sentences of up to 20 years.
In addition to cracking down on illegal marijuana cultivation, this act could help protect cannabis consumers’ health from pesticide contamination that often appears in unregulated grows. It could also help reduce the environmental damage that comes with these clandestine operations. The bill seeks to reduce demand for these products by addressing its root causes, such as an expansive network of public lands where growers can try to hide their activities and local bans that limit access to legal marijuana businesses in some areas, according to a report by Marijuana Moment.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), a sponsor of the TOXIC Act, stated it wants “to prevent exposure to banned pesticides [that] are endangering residents who inadvertently consume it.” Both he and Peters hope their bipartisan piece of legislation will pass this session so they can better ensure consumer safety while protecting the environment in their home state of California and beyond.