For those who grow cannabis in a commercial facility two bills before the Colorado legislature that might be tackled this year are noteworthy that relate to pesticides. One deals with the “Pesticide-free Cannabis Certification Program” and the other is “Rules for Allowed Cannabis Pesticides”.
According to the Colorado Springs Independent, “when it comes to passing and implementing new regulations, state elected leaders are still hampered by bureaucracy as usual - though not for lack of effort. As usual, the session probably will be boring at times and contentious at others.”
Here are the details of each of the proposed bills.
"Pesticide-free Cannabis Certification Program"
As it stands, determining whether a product qualifies as "organic" is exclusively the domain of the federal government. But because marijuana is a Schedule I drug, and therefore federally illegal, no hemp or cannabis product can currently earn the coveted designation. HB16-1079 would direct Colorado's agriculture commissioner to draft rules for a program that informs consumers if a cannabis product has been cultivated and processed without the use of pesticides. The state Department of Agriculture would certify third-party groups to in turn certify cannabis facilities as pesticide-free. Democrats KC Becker of Boulder and Jonathan Singer of Longmont are the lawmakers who want to help green the green.
"Rules for Allowed Marijuana Pesticides"
SB16-015 is a little trickier than it seems. The state Department of Agriculture maintains a list of pesticides banned for use on cannabis plants. This bill would have the agency instead maintain a list of pesticides that are permissible. But here's the thing: the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration — federal agencies — are responsible for testing and approving pesticides. And remember, marijuana is illegal in the eyes of the feds, so there are no pesticides approved for use on cannabis, only pesticides loosely labeled safe for use on unspecified food crops, homegrown herbs or bedding crops that growers can safely interpret as applying to cannabis. The Department of Agriculture may be comfortable saying what not to spray plants with, but what you can spray plants with — that's a riskier can of worms. Democrat Ed Vigil of Fort Garland and Republican Randy Baumgardner filed this bill.
Both of these bills are worth watching. No matter how these bills ultimately unfold, urban-gro is committed to providing pest control solutions that are legally compliant. J. Chandler who leads the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) division has over a decade of experience as an organic farmer in Texas. He has successfully translated that experience to the cannabis industry in Colorado. He works closely with growers to recommend the best IPM products and application procedures to promote pest-free crops.