Last month, the EPA approved 10 pesticides—including one conventional pesticide, or synthetic chemical, and nine bio pesticides, or naturally occurring bioactive organisms—for use on the cannabis plant. These are the first crop protection tools ever to be approved for the plant because, up until passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was classified as a controlled substance.
The EPA has oversight authority over the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Although hemp tends to be a hardy crop, these newly approved pesticides will allow farmers to manage insects, bacteria, fungi and nematodes on their industrial hemp crops. Because pesticides leach onto the plant, and hemp is often dried and developed into multi-use oil, producers were especially eager to receive EPA approval for safe pesticides. That’s why, back in August, Hawthorne Hydroponics, Marrone Bio Innovations, and Agro Logistic Systems, Inc. each submitted applications for approval under FIFRA to add “Use on Hemp” to their labels. For 30 days, the EPA accepted comments on the applications and ultimately concluded they could be safely applied to the plant.
The EPA will continue to review additional pesticides for approval on hemp on an ongoing basis. This is a major advancement in hemp law because it reduces uncertainty for farmers in advance of the 2020 growing season, and increases the likelihood of a viable crop.
For more information about regulatory compliance or business issues, please contact one of our Hemp Law practice group attorneys