Beginning January 1, 2018, Maryland will ban sales of products containing the neonicotinoid class of pesticides throughout the state of Maryland, save to licensed operators. The Pollinator Protection Act was allowed to pass into law when Governor Larry Hogan neither vetoes nor signed the bill at the end of May.
The law that passed had a significant change from the bill that first passed both the state House and Senate. Those versions banned the sale of plants that had been treated with neonicotinoids. The language related to that ban, however, was struck out during the final reconciliation before a final vote.
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.
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).