You're a true blessing to the community WS. Bugs are what I've been told vectored this too. I haven't seen this problem yet..but am listening and being careful with all in-coming cuts as if they could be infected.I'm 100% convinced that we are dealing with a virus. Two of the most widespread and common pests in our industry (rice root aphids and western flower thrips) are both vectors for hundreds of different species of virus that affect thousands of different species of plants...and many of those viruses have only been discovered in the last 5-10 years.
There are many crops in agriculture that deal with similar problems as this, however there are protocols in place to make sure pest and crop cross-contamination are kept to a minimum, and when outbreaks occur it is a national concern.
Unfortunately, the cannabis industry has no regulation whatsoever, and in my experience 4/5 growers are dealing with at least one pest that is a known viral vector, and I haven't spoken to/witnessed a single grower that doesn't source clones from unknown sources (just because you know who popped the seed doesn't mean you know the story of the cutting, or of the parent plants). The lack of cohesion when it comes to pest awareness and the practice of breeding plants in synthetic environments apart from any natural process, on top of the clandestine and untracked nature of sharing/spreading cuts, puts cannabis at the top of the list for crops at risk for a viral collapse.
Almost every crop that is propagated through cuttings or tissue culture is contaminated by viruses, and every crop has dedicated research centers (either independed or university based) to stay ahead of the viruses and produce clean/resistant stock. As we speak potatoes and bananas are being decimated by viruses; berries, melons, grapes, squashes, and a countless number of perennials are also dealing with almost identical problems as us.
There are very few answers to this solution. I and others (@Ricksauce you're the man) are working very hard on trying to get professional eyes on this epidemic, it's been a hell of a year but I think things are finally starting to get moving.