Monday, November 30, 2015

Colorado Governor Issues Executive Order Regarding Marijuana Contaminated by Pesticide

Written by M. Sean High

On November 12, 2015, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order directing Colorado state agencies to take measures to protect the public from health dangers that could potential result from marijuana contaminated by pesticide.

According to the executive order, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “regulates pesticides that are sold in the United States” and “also evaluates and approves the language that appears on each pesticide label to ensure safe use of the product.” The executive order stated that "[i]t is a violation of state and federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with the EPA's labeling directions" and that any pesticide use inconsistent with the labeling directions causes a crop to become contaminated.  Furthermore, the executive order noted that when a crop is contaminated with a pesticide “it constitutes a threat to the public safety.”

Significantly, the executive order stated that “because marijuana [which Colorado legalized the commercial sale of in January 2014] remains a schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substance Act, the EPA has neither assessed the potential health hazards posed by treating marijuana with pesticides, nor has it authorized the application of any pesticide specifically for use on marijuana.” As a result, through the executive order, Governor Hickenlooper authorized those Colorado state agencies statutorily charged with regulating the cultivation and sale of marijuana to destroy or place on administrative hold marijuana determined to be contaminated by pesticide. 

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