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State Pesticides Variability in Cannabis

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When it comes to the use of pesticides in agriculture, there's significant variability from market to market dictating what can or cannot be used. These state-based regulations are governed by various agencies like the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Pesticide Revenue (the governing agency for the state of California). Each state determines the agency in charge of permit authorizations and then sets forth the parameters of active ingredients allowed for use on crops. These regulations can include the approval and disapproval of the same pesticide product, used on the same crop, and sharing state lines (i.e., it may be allowed in some instances but not others). That means that just because a product is approved for use in a state does not necessarily mean that it is approved for use on every agricultural crop, but rather what is specified on the label. Even the percentage of active ingredients can deviate in amounts allowed from state to state. 

It is essential for cultivators to understand the pesticide use compliance requirements in the state in which they are operating. Growing compliantly not only helps avoid the risk of being cited, but it also prevents human consumption of potentially harsh chemicals. Fortunately, lab testing and consumption thresholds established by health departments and other agencies have helped prevent inconsumable products from being placed on the market.  

Common agricultural practices regarding IPM (integrated pest management) often involve the application of either EPA registered pesticides or 25B exempt pesticides. EPA registered products typically contain active ingredients that are widely considered more “effective” than that of their 25B product peers. A variety of linseed, rosemary, soybean, and other various oils typically fall under the 25B product category. While sought after and used by many growers, these products typically work best as a proactive, or preventative, measure and can take longer to treat an existing pest pressure or outbreak. Many controlled environment and commercial agriculture operations take a hybrid approach to IPM by leveraging approved pesticides, fungicides, and biological controls. This multi-pronged approach can help mitigate detrimental crop loss and inevitably contribute to the preservation of crop quality and quantity.  

However, some states such as Oklahoma and Massachusetts require the exclusive use of 25B classified products. These states maintain their own cannabis allowed pesticide list, making it easy for growers to know what they can and cannot use. However, in most states, the regulations are less clear, leaving room for interpretation which can lead to misunderstanding of the law. This unique variability from state to state is extremely important for growers to be aware of.  

The label is the law when it comes to pesticide applications on any crop. Be sure when applying certain pesticides that you are following the label, applying at the correct application rates, and never going beyond  volume thresholds that may be harmful to human consumption. 

IPM is only one component of our Crop Protection Programs (CPP), which take a comprehensive and holistic approach to IPM. Interested in adding plant scientists and experts to your team without adding to your payroll? Contact us today to get started. 

About the AuthorHuston Hoelscher

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