Maine Lawmakers Lift Ban on Pesticides in Medical Marijuana Growing

Maine Lawmakers Lift Ban on Pesticides in Medical Marijuana Growing

AUGUSTA, ME — Some low-risk pesticides will be allowed in the cultivation of medical marijuana for dispensaries in Maine following a bill passed by the legislature on Friday that is expected to be signed by Governor LePage.

L.D. 1531, an emergency measure sponsored by Sen. Thomas Saviello (R-Wilton), a former chairman of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, passed in the House without a roll-call vote Friday, one day after the Senate passed the bill Thursday.

Current state law prohibits dispensaries from using any pesticides when growing medical marijuana, including organic fertilizers or natural substances such as vegetable oil.

Under the new bill, which would become effective as law immediately upon the Governor’s signature, the Department of Health and Human Services, who oversees the medical marijuana program in Maine, will be allowed to authorize certain low-risk pesticides.

Which pesticides allowed will be determined by a list of more than 30 active ingredients that are exempt from federal regulation because they are deemed virtually harmless, including sesame oil, soybean oil and peppermint oil.

Under the bill, each pesticide also would have to be registered for use in Maine, and its label would have to indicate that it can be used on all plants. If the substance were to be used on marijuana plants that would be turned into edible products, it would face more scrutiny.