The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to a $44,732 contract with a hazardous materials consulting firm as part of its cannabis eradication program, Marijuana Moment reports. The agency said in a public filing of the contract that the services are required because department agents and officers are “getting sick” while eradicating plants on illegal cultivation sites, “requiring trips to emergency rooms with possible long term (sic) health effects.”
The document notes that in 2016, the agency received its first citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for not providing training and personal protective equipment, they say, is “needed to operate in this environment.”
The no-bid contract was awarded to NES, which the Forest Service said “tailored a program for hazmat to deal specifically with the unique hazardous chemicals in a marijuana cultivation site run by drug trafficking organizations.”
“This is the ONLY training course in the U.S. available to meet out needs, and has met OSHA standards. More importantly the only recognized course by OSHA to meet their training requirements for our soon to be national protocols. Our Agents and Officers must pass this class before they can participate in marijuana cultivation operations making the safety decision wether (sic) to proceed or not.” – U.S. Forest Service in a filing with the U.S. General Services Administration
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspector general reported that the Forest Service does not always reclaim and rehabilitate marijuana grow sites after plants are eradicated, and FS is unaware of the overall impact these marijuana grow sites pose to the forest ecosystems.” The report adds that Forest Service agents leave “trash and chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers” at the grow site which puts “the public, wildlife, and environment at risk of contamination.”
The contract does not indicate whether the training will include rehabilitation of the site.
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