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Brian R. Leahy

                       Department of Pesticide Regulation

The Great Seal of the State of California

Edmund G. Brown Jr.

September 29, 2015

ENF 15-15
PML 15-05



County Agricultural Commissioners


The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) was asked to provide growers of medical marijuana with information about how to comply with California’s environmental laws as they relate to pesticide use. This letter is a result of the effort to provide outreach to this industry.

Issuing Operator Identification (operator I.D) Numbers and Pesticide Use Reporting (PUR)

The County Agricultural Commissioner (Commissioner) should issue an operator I.D. number to any medical marijuana grower who submits a valid application. The regulations provide no basis for denying a valid application for an operator I.D., but instead state that the operator of the property to be treated shall be issued an operator I.D. See Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations (3 CCR) section 6622. An operator I.D. is strictly used as an identification number for the management of pesticide use data. An operator I.D. is not a permit or any other form of approval, but a ministerial function that must be performed by the Commissioner under the regulations before an operator can purchase and use a pesticide for any agricultural use. The exception is when growing marijuana in that county is prohibited by a local ordinance.

Under California law, each operator of a property that uses a pesticide for agricultural use is required to obtain an operator I.D (3 CCR section 6622). The use of a pesticide for the cultivation of medical marijuana falls under the broad definition of “agricultural use” in the Food & Agricultural Code (FAC), even though marijuana is not considered an agricultural commodity (FAC § 11408). Enclosed are the DPR documents “Pesticide Use on Marijuana” and “Legal Pest Management Practices for Marijuana Growers in California.” outlining the legal requirements for pesticide use on marijuana and providing guidance on legal pest management practices for California marijuana growers. These documents should be provided to medical marijuana growers at the time an operator I.D. is issued.

An operator who uses a pesticide for the cultivation of medical marijuana is required to submit a monthly pesticide use report (3 CCR 6627). The PUR site code for marijuana is: Code 70 - Marijuana. If a grower submits a PUR indicating that inappropriate pesticides are being used, the grower should be informed by letter that such use is illegal under California law and that the information may be provided to local law enforcement.

U.S. EPA Letter on Special Local Needs Registration for Marijuana

The Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act Section 24(c), allows states to issue a special local need registration for a need that cannot be addressed by a currently registered pesticide product. The Colorado Department of Agriculture recently contacted U.S. EPA about the possibility of FIFRA Section 24(c) registration for pesticides to be used on marijuana. U.S. EPA indicated that it would not necessarily reject a FIFRA Section 24(c) registration for marijuana, if the registration request is for a federally registered pesticide approved for use: on food and/or tobacco; by the same type(s) of application methods; on crops with agronomic characteristics similar to cannabis; and in the same kind of structure as the proposed use. Currently, no such registration exists.

Enclosed is U.S. EPA‘s May 19, 2015, full response to the Colorado Department of Agriculture which contains toxicology data requirements information and a table of exempt active ingredients, or those registered for a use broad enough to include use on marijuana.

If you have any questions, please contact the Enforcement Branch Liaison assigned to your county.


Original Signature by:

Donna Marciano
Chief, Enforcement Branch

Original Signature by:

Nan Gorder, Ph.D.
Chief, Pest Management and Licensing Branch

Pesticide Use on Marijuana, PDF (41 kb)
Legal Pest Management Practices for Marijuana Growers in California, PDF (1.1 MB)
U.S. EPA’s May 19, 2015, Response to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, PDF (2.5 MB)

cc: Mr. Joe Marade, DPR Agricultural Commissioner Liaison
      Enforcement Branch Liaison

1001 I Street  ·   P.O. Box 4015  ·  Sacramento, California 95812-4015  ·  www.cdpr.ca.gov
A Department of the California Environmental Protection Agency