On Election Day 2020, Montana and South Dakota both passed amendments that would legalize recreational use of marijuana. That brings about a whole realm of questions: how to grow it, who will grow it, and especially, is it an agricultural product?
Don Brown, former commissioner of agriculture for Colorado, came into office in 2015, three years after recreational use and growing of marijuana was approved in that state. Brown explained that the main focus in his office was centered around pesticide use on cannabis; the Department of Revenue handled most of the other issues.
“Indoor growing conditions of marijuana created a tropical environment that accelerated insect and pest pressure. The problem is there are no federally licensed pesticides to use on cannabis because it’s a Schedule 1 drug.” (According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association Schedule 1 drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.)
“In Colorado we allowed cannabis growers to use pesticides that could be used on any green, leafy growing matter. If it’s broad enough on label on the chemical, you could let them apply it. The Colorado Depart of Agriculture website listed the pesticides that could be used, although we were struggling because as a state, we don’t have the authority to determine the tolerance of pesticides.”
Brown explained that because cannabis and its byproducts can be used in many different fashions—edible, oils and smoked, real problems arose because some of