Act 44 Amendment to Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Law
HB 1024, now Act 44 of 2021, does not change PDA's authority over pesticides. Act 44 sets forth existing authority, related to registration of pesticides, from the Pesticide Act and establishes a process and schedule for the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Secretary of Health, to publish in the Bulletin the list of approved pesticides for use on medical marijuana crops, on a schedule outlined in the statute. The PDA maintains all authority regarding pesticide registration, labeling, label use restrictions, application, licensing, inspection and all other authority established in the Pennsylvania Pesticide Control Act of 1973 and its attendant regulations.
Medical Marijuana & Pesticide Information
Pennsylvania's legalization of Medical Marijuana has led to an interesting situation when it comes to pesticides. In order to apply a pesticide to a crop, the pesticide must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use on the target crop. As we always say, "the label is the law," as the pesticide labeling is an extension of the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Applying a pesticide to a crop not listed on the pesticide label is a violation of FIFRA. Because marijuana is a schedule 1 narcotic under the federal Controlled Substances Act, EPA does not recognize marijuana as a crop. Thus, EPA has never registered a pesticide with marijuana as a listed crop.
However, there are certain pesticides that are broadly labeled, and application of these products to marijuana is not expressly prohibited. Pesticides that are labeled for "Spinach, lettuce, and other leafy vegetables" may not mention all acceptable sites but are broad enough to use on endive and other crops fitting this description. Thus, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has set policy that pesticides labeled for use on unspecified food crops or herbs are not expressly prohibited by FIFRA from being applied to marijuana.
PDA has published a list of active ingredients that 1) are exempt from a food residue tolerance, and 2) have at least one federal registration that lists unspecified food crops on its EPA "master label" or are exempt from federal registration entirely. In addition, any pesticide used or sold in PA must be registered with PDA. Not all the active ingredients on the published list are in pesticides registered with PDA; PDA merely recognizes that an appropriately labeled pesticide containing one of these active ingredients can be used on marijuana once it is registered with the state. If a grower finds a suitable product but it is not yet registered in PA, they should reach out to the manufacturer to let them know there is demand in the state for the pesticide. Inquiries about pesticide registration can go to Daniel Duer, firstname.lastname@example.org 717-772-5211.
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PDA will publish a list of approved pesticide
active ingredients annually in September. PDA will remove active ingredients on
an as-needed basis.
There are a variety of useful tools to find pesticide products by active ingredient. The National Pesticide Information Retrieval System (NPIRS) correlates Pennsylvania's registration data with the EPA's federal registration data. You can search for products registered in PA by brand name, EPA Registration Number, company name, or active ingredient NPIRS State Public (purdue.edu)
Federal registration data can be found on EPA's Pesticide Product Label System (PPLS): Pesticide Product and Label System | US EPA
This search will give you access to the master label a company has submitted to the EPA; this will list all possible uses and language the EPA has allowed the company to claim on market labels (i.e. the label attached to the pesticide container). Remember, the registrant may not list all of these potential uses on the market label; so, the actual label in the marketplace may not allow for all the uses represented in the master label.
Another useful tool is the National Pesticide Information Center's (NPIC) Product Research Online (NPRO) NPRO (orst.edu)
No. For use on medical marijuana, a pesticide must both 1) contain only active ingredients found on the approved list, 2) must be registered in PA, and 3) be labeled for nonspecific food or herb crops. An example of such label language may be a hydrogen peroxide product labeled for use “on all flowering plants, ornamentals, house plants, vegetable, berry and fruit plants, trees and shrubs,” because it can be applied to any vegetable. Another example is a Bacillus thuringiensis product that is labeled for use on “Vegetable plants such as the following...” because it doesn’t restrict use to only certain vegetable crops.
No. The label that comes with your pesticide must list unspecified food crops to be legally used on marijuana.
Pennsylvania's pesticide registry can be found at https://www.paplants.pa.gov/ProductRegFSA/BrandSearch.aspx
Registration data can also be found on NPIRS site: NPIRS State Public (purdue.edu)
Information on NPIRS is not always complete however, so checking the PAPlants.pa.gov search is recommended to double check registration.
Submissions can be sent to:
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Attn: Pesticide Registration
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg PA 17110
Submissions received prior to June 1st will be considered for inclusion in the approved list. Active ingredients will be considered for inclusion on this list by the following criteria:
- The active ingredient is in at least one EPA registered pesticide, or is exempt under FIFRA 25(b)
- Pesticides containing this ingredient are labeled for unspecified food or herb crops
- The active ingredient is exempt from the requirements of a tolerance on all food crops
PDA may also consider other factors, such as pyrolysis data or whether addition of an active ingredient may likely lead to widespread misuse.