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Hop Latent Viroid threatening Massachusetts' cannabis industry

A plant disease once found primarily out west is now showing up in Massachusetts, and that's raising concerns about how that could affect the local harvest. "Hop Latent Viroid has been an issue in many different cannabis cultivation facilities," said Dr. Riley Kirk, a cannabis research scientist at Real Isolates in Beverly.

"The issue with Hop Latent Viroid is it can affect the plant's potency," explained Dr. Kirk. "It can stunt the growth of the plant, and eventually, it can even change the genetic make-up of the plant."

Hop Latent Viroid presents a huge challenge to growers. Not only is it hard to detect visually before it's too late, but it also spreads easily. "We really want to use molecular tests to tell very early on if we can detect the virus before it's too late and say, 'oh, our plants are stunted' or 'we see the visual aspects of the plant wilting and causing damage from that virus," said Dr. Kirk.

Dr. Benjamin Caplan, an expert on medical cannabis and founder of EO Care, Inc., says Massachusetts consumers can still have confidence in what's produced locally because of the state's strict regulations.

To read the complete article, go to www.boston25news.com

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