A bill banning consumer use and retail sales of neonicotinoids has passed the House and Senate in Maryland and is now awaiting governor Larry Hogan’s signature. If it becomes law, it will be the first state-level ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, although there are several county and municipal level laws across the U.S.
The Pollinator Protection Act originally banned sales of plants treated with neonics and passed both legislative bodies, but that language was struck out during the reconciliation process before getting a final vote from House.
The ban focuses primarily on retail sales of neonicotinoids. The Act does allow certified applicators, farmers, and veterinarians to use neonicotinoids. However, language in the bill refers to a six-month neonicotinoid study being conducted by the EPA, instructing the Maryland Department of Agriculture to revisit its rules of allowable use of neonicotinoids once that study has been released.
The ban will take effect on January 1, 2018, if it is signed into law by the governor.
An Ocean City, MD, newspaper, The Dispatch, says Governor Hogan is likely to sign, while the Baltimore Sun says his intent to sign is unclear.
There were several opponents to the bill. The Baltimore Sun identified the Maryland Farm Bureau, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, while The Dispatch says Maryland’s Department of Agriculture opposed the bill on the grounds that there is little scientific evidence showing that neonicotinoids are to blame for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).