With Marijuana Legalization Comes Marijuana Recalls
By Dan Nosowitz
Marijuana regulation is well behind its legalization; there isn't really any alternative, given that research and consumer desires will shape what we know and want from the crop.
But we've got a couple of new recalls, so it's worth looking into the recall history of cannabis products in North America. In Michigan, cannabis has only been legal since Dec. 6, 2018, and yet there's already been a recall, the state's first. Our neighbors to the north have one too, from a Toronto-based company called Up Cannabis.
Since 2012, when Washington became the first state to legalize recreational cannabis use, nine more states (plus Washington, DC) have joined in. There have been several recalls already in those states, and those have typically been due to high pesticide use—for example, this Colorado recall of 100,000 cannabis-infused lollipops and candies, or this Oregon recall of a specific strain of marijuana called Blue Magoo.
Each individual state is responsible for instituting its own regulatory system; as the plant is not federally legal, national programs like the National Organic Program are usually not available. (There is no federally regulated organic cannabis whatsoever; any claim to a cannabis product being "organic" does not have the same regulation that organic fruits or vegetables do.) As with much of the cannabis industry, sometimes the regulation has been slow to be put into place.
Michigan has only two approved laboratories for testing products at the moment, a potential bottleneck that most newly-legalizing states have had to deal with. And when one of those labs is found to have a major issue, as with Sequoia Analytical Labs in California, that bottleneck grows even worse. Sequoia was forced to surrender its testing license only a month ago after reports surfaced alleging mass falsification of test results.
There's the additional problem that historically, cannabis has not been a carefully operated agricultural sector, largely due to its prohibition. When simply existing is highly illegal, excess use of, say, literal rat poison is hardly a grower's biggest concern. Much of the new crop of growers, operating legally and within the boundaries of fresh legislation, are breaking from that history—but growing pains remain. It's also worth noting that while cannabis is a far smaller crop than, say, romaine lettuce or chicken, there are many, many industries with worse safety records, at least so far. But given that this whole industry is so new, it's worth keeping an eye on how it's taking shape.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
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Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.