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ProKure D, a deodorizer, is not an EPA-registered product. Coast News graphic
ProKure D, a deodorizer, is not an EPA-registered product. Cultivaris Hemp was found to be using the product in violation of state pesticide codes. Coast News graphic
Cities Encinitas Encinitas Featured Environment News

County finds ‘no correlation’ between hemp farm, neighbors’ reported illnesses

ENCINITAS — Following a battle with neighbors over the summer, a county agriculture department’s investigation found that a former Encinitas hemp farm was using an unregistered pesticide in violation of state codes but could not establish a nexus between the farm’s operations and neighbors’ reported illnesses.

Cultivaris Hemp was previously located at 1150 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas but has since moved its hemp plants to a new location in the Vista area.

The report, released this week by the County of San Diego Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures, was issued after several agencies took samples from the site after receiving complaints from neighbors claiming the company’s use of pesticides led to headaches, respiratory problems and other health issues in April.

The county’s investigation found no connection between residents’ medical complaints and pesticides used in operations at Cultivaris Hemp or adjacent Fox Point Farms.

“Based on the complainants’ statements, Cultivaris Hemp and Fox Point workers’ statements, the pesticide sample results, lack of complainants’ medical records and physicians’ reports, structural pest control business pesticide records, and Cultivaris Hemp and Fox Point statements and pesticide records, (AWM’s Pesticide Regulation Program) determined there was no correlation between the complainants’ illness symptoms and the agricultural operations’ pesticide activities at 1150 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas,” the report states.

In comments to The Coast News, Cultivaris CEO Josh Schneider said the report confirmed his longstanding belief that its practices were not doing harm to surrounding neighborhoods.

“The extensive county report vindicates our position that the health complaints the neighbors made were based on nothing but circumstantial evidence and unsupported by any facts,” Schneider said.

However, the report also found that Cultivaris Hemp was not in compliance with state and local regulations surrounding the use of a particular pesticide, ProKure D.

Cultivaris claimed to use deodorizer ProKure D as a means of controlling odors from the hemp farm. According to the manufacturer’s website, the product is not an EPA-registered product nor meant to be sold as a pesticide. However, the county investigation determined that Cultivaris was using ProKure D as a pesticide.

“ProKure D meets the definition of a pesticide because it is intended to mitigate ‘mustiness’ and contains the active ingredient Chlorine Dioxide. Therefore, ProKure D requires registration with both the (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and the (California Department of Pesticide Regulation) before it can be distributed for sale and use in California. CDPR is following up with the manufacturer regarding registration of ProKure D  in California,” the report states.

According to the report, Cultivaris claimed to be doing research for ProKure D as part of developing other products for the company. The county said the farm failed to obtain the required research authorization.

The county determined the use of an unregistered pesticide and failing to obtain a research authorization are both violations of state codes.

As part of the report, the county also determined Cultivaris’ pesticide use records were incomplete and inaccurate leading to a total of four violations for Cultivaris Hemp.

“We are working with the County to address and resolve the other issues that remain open,” Schneider said.

Schneider noted the company’s use of ProKure D was “according to the label requirements and instructions.”

The report also found that Fox Point Farms, adjacent to Cultivaris Hemp, was in compliance with all relevant pesticides regulations.

It is not known at this time what punishment, if any, will be imposed on Cultivaris following the findings from the county. The report states the county will consider the level of seriousness of the violations and their potential impact before determining any action following the investigation.

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