California’s cannabis farms are facing a large problem, more than 90% of the plants are infected with a severe pathogen. According to new research done by scientists in the area, a vast majority of the cannabis plants in California are being spoiled due to this small pathogen.

The pathogen, called Hop-latent viroid, or HLVd, shrivels the marijuana plants and reduces the weight they produce by up to 30%. This pathogen also reduces the amount of THC within the leaves and buds, decreasing the overall value.

HLVd was first documented in cannabis in a pair of scientific studies published in early 2019. This study included samples from a Santa Barbara pot farm. Now, a couple years later over 90% of California’s cannabis is infected with the pathogen. This new study claimed that HLVd is the largest concern for cannabis growers worldwide.

There is some hope though. A new Bay Area startup is introducing a tool that they believe will stop the spread of the pathogen. Oakland’s Purple City Labs has released a new HLVd test that will be conducted on site and delivering results in just a few hours. This new test will allow farmers to identify plants that are infected and remove them as soon as possible.

“We didn’t just identify a great test that is accurate, but it’s [also] easy to use and it doesn’t require a high level of expertise,” said Luke Horst, director of business development for Purple City Genetics. “You can take microbiology to the public and put it in their hands. … It’s important for people to have this type of testing.”

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