Earlier this month a Colorado gardening supply house was fined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for selling repackaged and unlabeled pesticides. Is this a warning shot at the cannabis industry by the Trump administration, as some have suggested? Probably not, just business as usual.
This is the second time Grow Depot has come to the attention of environmental regulators. The first time was in May, 2016, when the Colorado Department of Agriculture discovered that registered pesticides were repackaged into unmarked containers. In Colorado, if a pesticide is registered, it is under the jurisdiction of the state; unregistered, it is under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
The EPA and state regulators have been focused on pesticide use by marijuana growers for some time. As we blogged over a year ago, in 2015, the EPA offered guidance to the state of Colorado regarding the use of pesticides on cannabis. In Oregon, the Liquor Control Commission recently issued a recall of recreational cannabis containing high levels of pesticide residue.
As the industry expands and matures, it is constantly looking at ways to increase efficiency in growing marijuana, both with and without pesticides. The focus on pesticide use in the marijuana industry by state and federal regulators has more to do with keeping the industry within legally permissible guidelines than with making a political statement. We are tracking how this plays out in the industry. Stay tuned.