EPA Calls for Public Comment on 10 Hemp Pesticides

Farmers who have been growing hemp under the pilot programs of states and under the recently passed Farm Bill of 2018 have been doing so without using any pesticides since none had been approved by the EPA for use on this newly legalized commercial crop. Now this situation is set to change because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revealed that it will publish a notice in the next few days calling on members of the public to submit comments about ten pesticides being considered for approval for use on hemp.

This revelation was made by Andrew Wheeler, the EPA Administrator, while he was speaking at a hemp field day organized in Kentucky. The 30-day comments period will kick off once the notice is published in the federal register. At the time Wheeler made the announcement, only the prepublication copy of the notice was available.

The EPA official revealed that the agency was taking this transparent approach so that researchers, the academia and the general public would have a chance to voice their opinions on these ten crop protection products whose applications are before the agency.

Wheeler added that once those ten products are approved, the agency would not call for public comments regarding any subsequent pesticide applications if those additional products contain similar ingredients to those that have already been cleared during this first round of the regulatory consideration process.

Andrew Wheeler also reassured the hemp farmers in Kentucky that a list of pesticides that they can use will be available long before the 2020 planting season so that the farmers can plan and purchase inputs in time for the planting season.

The enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill triggered massive interest among crop protection tool manufacturers and applications started being filed with the EPA for different products to get approved for use in hemp fields.

The EPA anticipated this increased interest because industrial hemp had generated a lot of interest among farmers, processors, manufacturers and the general public (especially users of CBD products). It was therefore only logical that there would be a need for approved pesticides to ease the cultivation of this crop which has generated such a buzz.

Once the public comments period ends, the EPA plans to analyze the information provided before making a decision to either approve or reject a given product in the same way that the agency considers applications for crop protection products used in the cultivation of other crops.

Analysts believe that this information that pesticides will soon be approved for use in hemp fields has come as good news to various industry actors like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) and Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) who have been wondering about which products farmers would use in case pests attacked their crop.

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