Congress to explore bill meant to crack down on illegal marijuana cultivation, pesticides

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A federal bill would increase the penalties associated with illegal cannabis grows

A new bill aimed at eradicating the use of dangerous and unauthorized pesticides on illicit marijuana crops in legal and non-legal states has recently been introduced by a bipartisan pair of congressmen. This is a fight that has been ongoing for years and Congress is now tasked with analyzing the proposal and making the growing industry better developed.

Doug LaMalfa and Scott Peters are the representatives behind the Targeting and Offsetting Existing Illegal Contaminants (TOXIC) Act. LaMalfa and other legislators have introduced measures with similar intentions in the past, but the lawmaker hopes that this time a significant impact will be found.

Many of the headlines today have focused on the continuing problems caused by illicit cultivation, especially in states like California. This has caused different legislators, regardless of their political party, to see the urgency for further reform to mitigate the environmental damage of unregulated cultivation.

This problem is intended to be addressed by the TOXIC Act on two levels. On the one hand, it would increase criminal penalties for people who have used these banned chemicals. In addition, it aims to provide up to $250 million in funding for the US Forest Service (USFS) to remediate areas where banned pesticides have been used as part of unauthorized marijuana cultivation.

The measure has made it clear that the use of these environmentally harmful chemicals would be treated in the same manner as the smuggling of those pesticides. In other words, violators of the law would face maximum penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison. The US Sentencing Commission (USCC) would be the entity charged with reviewing and updating the sentencing guidelines accordingly.

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