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EPA Approves Hemp Pesticide Applications In Advance of 2020 Growing Season

On December 19, 2019, EPA announced that it has approved ten applications seeking to add new hemp uses to pesticide products registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in time for the 2020 growing season. Nine of these products are biopesticides and one is a conventional pesticide. EPA’s action represents the first registered hemp uses for pesticide products since last year’s passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (commonly known as the Farm Bill), which removed industrial hemp from its earlier classification as a controlled substance under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The active ingredients contained in the registered products include:

  • Azadirachtin
  • Neem oil
  • Extract of Reynoutria sachalinensis
  • Bacillus amyloliquifaciensstrains
  • Soybean oil
  • Garlic oil
  • Capsicum oleoresin extract
  • Potassium salts of fatty acids

In August, EPA announced receipt of the ten applications and opened a thirty-day public comment period due to “potential significant interest from the public” on the applications. EPA emphasized in that announcement that it did not view itself as statutorily required to provide a comment opportunity because hemp falls under existing terrestrial outdoor and residential outdoor use patterns previously assessed and approved by EPA for the subject products, and therefore the FIFRA section 3(c)(4) requirement to publish notice of any application that entails a “changed use pattern” was not triggered. EPA indicated that it did not anticipate notifying the public of receipt of similar applications in the future, and we expect that EPA will not subsequently publish notice of similar applications. However, EPA has published on its website a list of the ten pesticide products newly approved for use on hemp and committed to updating that list as new applications are approved on an ongoing basis.

In approving the applications, EPA emphasized that the products will now be available for use on hemp in the 2020 growing season and noted that EPA is “committed to providing much-needed certainty to farmers and ranchers across the country who rely on crop protection tools to ensure a global supply of products while driving economic growth in agricultural communities across America.”

Beveridge & Diamond's Industrial Hemp & Cannabis industry group assists cannabis-based businesses with state-level environmental compliance, product liability, project planning, environmental risk avoidance, and, when appropriate, litigation and defense against state-level environmental enforcement actions. Click here to sign up for our Industrial Hemp & Cannabis industry list to receive topical news alerts and event invitations by email. Possession, use, distribution and sale of cannabis may be a federal crime. These materials, and any advice provided herein, are not intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law, or in providing guidance or assistance in complying with federal law.