Pesticides Prohibited in MA
During prohibition, many growers used who-knows-what to keep their plants free of bugs and mold. Regulating the use of dangerous chemicals on cannabis in the interest of public health is clearly an important issue.
Massachusetts, through the authority of MDAR (Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources), has arguably gone to the extreme end of this issue as the state prohibits all pesticides on cannabis.
Yep, all pesticides are prohibited. This includes herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, rodenticides and plant growth regulators. There is an exception for the list of 25b Minimum Risk products, which the EPA basically says are safe enough to use on anything. There is no additional exception for pesticides approved for use on organic crops.
Other States Allow Some Pesticides
Other cannabis-legal states have taken a vastly less restrictive view. Colorado publishes a 40-page list of approved pesticides and takes partial guidance from those products approved for use on tobacco. California does not publish a specific list, but uses criteria which include having a label broad enough to include cannabis, while acknowledging that no product is federally registered for use on cannabis.
No EPA Approved Products
The lack of federally registered pesticides for cannabis is the hangup for MDAR. Massachusetts law only permits use of those products which are registered by the EPA, and the EPA has not registered any products for cannabis because it is still illegal under federal law.
What Does This Mean?
These restrictions probably mean that Commonwealth cannabis is cleaner than other states’. Does it mean that it’s healthier? Hard to say, since the research hasn’t been done (that research is necessary for EPA registration).
How does this impact growers? It certainly makes it harder to grow a crop that’s not contaminated by pests, thus increasing the risk of crop failure. It increases the chance that an uneducated operator will face legal action (in 2018, the CCC shutdown two medical dispensaries for using products that are legal in other states).
Do you know how to grow your crop in compliance with Massachusetts law?