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Rat Poison Banned; Illegal Pot Operations to Blame

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Regulators in California have decided to ban certain types of rat poisons, according to the Times-Standard. But it’s not because they don’t have any problems with rats.

Environmental groups have been suing various county and state government agencies in California over the poisons because they are making their way into other wildlife ecospheres.

This has led to the state Department of Pesticide Regulation banning pesticides called “rodenticides”.

Basically the problem breaks down this way: Homeowners and other non-professionals buy the rodenticides to take care of rat problems. They place the poisons around their home or business. Rats eat the poison. The trouble is that the rats do not die right away. In fact, the rats may return multiple times to feed on the poison before finally wandering off to die. The pesticide is thereby stored at high levels in their body tissue. Then another animal, perhaps even a pet, eats the poisoned carcass and ends up dying too.

“These substances are being introduced into our environment, which not only affects the wildlife, but could in turn affect human beings,” Sheriff Mike Downey said. “I’m glad there’s some regulatory scheme being pursued.”

The use of the rodenticides around homes and businesses is one thing, but it is their use around large illegal marijuana grow operations on public lands that poses a great threat. In 2008, law enforcement raiding pot growing operations found thousands of pounds of the rodenticides.

Even though the regulatory agency has now banned the materials, which takes effect in July of this year, the concern is that these illegal growers will simply bring the rodenticides in to California from states where it is not illegal to purchase it.

“If they’re willing to do illegal activities, such as cultivate marijuana on public lands, there is still a high likelihood they will import them from out of state or other areas to protect the marijuana plants,” Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Steve Knight said.

Images via Thinkstock and Wikimedia Commons

Rat Poison Banned; Illegal Pot Operations to Blame
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