The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced it will be reviewing ten more hemp pesticides and is seeking public comment on the applications. The ten products requesting allowances to be used in hemp production are existing insecticides and fungicides from Agro Logistic Systems, Marrone Bio Innovations, and Hawthorne Hydroponics.
“EPA is taking the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a news release. “We hope this transparent and public process will bring hemp farmers and researchers increased regulatory clarity in time for next growing season — something they have asked for since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of commercial hemp.”
The 2018 Farm Bill officially legalized hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry-weight basis, allowing for the expansion of hemp production while still prohibiting marijuana. Farmers have expressed frustration to the Trump administration and Congress over the challenges they face regarding the number of hemp pesticides that are available and the need for more options.
“EPA is committed to helping hemp growers obtain the tools needed to support and increase commercial production,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This step recognizes that innovation in pesticide use is critical to the success of our strong and vibrant agricultural sector.”
Several Congressmen have expressed appreciation for EPA’s response to the applications for use, with many citing the significant economic impact that hemp production could have on the agricultural industry. After the public comment period concludes, EPA is expecting to issue a decision on the specified materials by the end of 2019. The EPA will continue to review future applications for use on hemp as the agency would for any other crop material.