Oregon cannabis growers were recently informed by the state that they
can no longer use pesticides to grow their
While the Department of Agriculture is working on creating a list of
pesticides that will be approved for use, cultivators currently find
themselves at a standstill. Although not a fatal blow to the industry,
this new legislation does change things for the state’s cannabis
Why Pesticides Matter
Like most farming operations, cannabis growers use pesticides to protect
their plants. Farmers who grow crops like corn, wheat, soybeans or fruit
have access to a federally-approved list of pesticides to use on their
fields. Medical marijuana growers in Oregon, on the other hand, do not.
Since cannabis is still technically an illegal substance according to
the Department of Agriculture has never compiled a list of acceptable
pesticides for use in medical marijuana operations. As a result,
pesticides have been largely
in the cannabis industry, and the state is now barring the use of
pesticides until they can research health and safety concerns of users
and assemble a list of approved substances.
Since the Department of Agriculture has never approved the use of any
pesticides for cannabis plants, the application of pesticides is
currently against the law. While most cannabis growers are ethical in
their pesticide application, some are not. This may create health and
safety concerns for consumers.
In the changing medical marijuana climate, it is important that all
medical marijuana undergoes independent testing by labs to assure the
quality of products. Labs, such as those certified by the Association
of Commercial Cannabis Laboratories
(ACCL) in California, provide an accurate breakdown of substances found
naturally in the plant or those that have been added artificially.
Independent labs around the country test for contaminants to assure
growers are holding to the standards set forth by law. Lab testing makes
the medical marijuana industry safer for patients across the country, no
matter what specific state regulations are.
What the Future Holds
For the time being, licensed cannabis growers in Oregon are sitting
tight, as all regular pesticides are now prohibited. Although it is
likely that the Department of Agriculture will approve pesticides for
use in medical marijuana operations, it is not guaranteed. In the
meantime, cultivators are getting
creative with natural insect
repellents, and organic growers are happy to continue without
In the meantime,
are not slated to begin until late 2016, and dispensaries have to wait
until October of this year to begin selling limited amounts of their
product to of-age consumers. Going forward, many cultivators hope the
review will give them time to adjust their growing operations, with or
without new pesticides.