Plant Disease Endangers Massachusetts Marijuana Industry

BURIRAM, THAILAND - JUNE 10: A man dressed in a marijuana suit stands with mature marijuana plants at a marijuana legalization expo on June 10, 2022 in Buriram, Thailand. Today the Thai government gave out 1,000 cannabis plants to people in Buriram, a province in eastern Thailand, at its Marijuana legalization kick-off event called “Unlock Marijuana”. On June 9, 2022 Thailand officially decriminalized marijuana cultivation and possession and the government plans to give away 1 million cannabis plants for fee to people throughout the country. The expo in Buriram was focused on educating the public about the uses of marijuana for medicine and food and had informational booths about growing procedures and technology. (Photo by Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)

At a glance

  • Massachusetts marijuana growers are struggling to contain Hop Latent Viroid (HLBd), a plant disease that started on the West Coast and now is damaging the Northeast marijuana industry.
  • “Hop Latent Viroid has been an issue in many different cannabis cultivation facilities,” Dr. Riley Kirk, a cannabis research scientist at Real Isolates in Beverly, Massachusetts, told Fox25. The disease can stunt the plant’s growth and alter the plant’s genetic makeup, she explained. The condition also affects cannabinoid and terpene production, affecting the marijuana’s potency and flavor, according to the cannabis news site StratCann.

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