EPA Head Disapproves California Request to Recognize Allowable Cannabis Pesticides

William Stash Jones
Oregon Cannabis Connection


In a not-so-surprising move by the new EPA administrator appointed by Donald Trump, the EPA has rejected California’s request to recognize some acceptable pesticides for use on cannabis. In a memo on June 22, 2017, EPA head Scott Pruitt denied the request, stating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) scheduling of the plant as the reason.

Under the EPA rules, states may request approval of pesticides for use on certain crops that may not be currently approved for use with a pesticide. Under the rules, the administrator of the EPA can reject a request if there is no “similar use pattern” of the pesticide which can be determined. They used the current status of cannabis under the CSA as a schedule I substance, which makes it federally illegal to produce or use cannabis.

Pruitt Memo (Click to view)

The Notice Of Intent To Disapprove states:

Pursuant to FIFRA section 24c, the EPA’s regulations pertaining to state registrations of pesticides to meet special local needs state that “the Administrator may disapprove, on any reasonable grounds, any state registration which, when compared to a federally registered product, does not have … a similar use pattern … .” 40 C.F.R. – 162.154(a)(1). The regulations define “similar use pattern” to mean “the use of a pesticide product … which is [among other things] substantially the same as a registered federal use.” 40 C.F.R. – 162.151. Under federal law, cultivation (along with sale and use) of cannabis is generally unlawful as a schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The EPA finds that the general illegality of cannabis cultivation makes pesticide use on cannabis a fundamentally different use pattern.

This is one of the fundamental problems with cannabis cultivation under current federal laws. Although many different states have passed legalization of the plant, and the past four administrations in Washington D.C. have allowed the states substantial leeway with cannabis, federal laws continue to get in the way of effective implementation of medical use, medical research, proper banking access, and proper pesticide regulations for the many state sanctioned industries and programs. In every case the CSA is cited as the determinative factor, which shows how desperately the current law needs to be changed.

There is no effective way for the states to “experiment” with cannabis legalization if the federal government continues to use the racist and ineffective CSA as their justification for preventing proper banking access, properly grown cannabis for studies, proper medical oversight and proper medical prescriptions, proper and fair tax code, and proper use of pesticides for cultivation. It is dependent upon all of us, cannabis users and non-users who support it alike, to tell our representatives to support all of the current legislation in Congress that will normalize the treatment of cannabis as an acceptable commodity and medical drug.

© 2017 Oregon Cannabis Connection. All rights reserved.

William Stash Jones

William "Stash" Jones is a medical marijuana patient and medical cannabis advocate. He focuses on medical cannabis and its benefits, and believes that medical cannabis is the solution to many problems in medicine today.

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