Maryland Court Case Upholds Ban on Outdoor Pesticide Use
A legal decision in Maryland that upholds a ban on outdoor pesticide use on private property could have ramifications for both growers and independent garden centers that sell crop protection products.
The Maryland Court of Special Appeal in Montgomery County, MD v. Complete Lawn Care, et. al., found that the county’s ban on outdoor pesticide use on private property by residents and professionals is valid.
“We disagree with the decision, which failed to consider the strong opinion issued by the Circuit Court for Maryland in 2017, finding the county ban was illegal under existing state law and the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s comprehensive pesticide regulatory program,” said RISE, the national trade association representing manufacturers, formulators, distributors, and other industry leaders engaged with the specialty pesticides and fertilizers used by consumers and professionals, in noting its opposition to the ruling.
“We believe the county’s ban on consumer and professional pesticide use on private property is preempted by existing state law and we are disappointed with the decision of the Court of Special Appeals given the well-reasoned opinion of the lower court, which found the county’s ban to be preempted by existing state law,” the statement read.
The statement continued:
“We remain concerned that this local pesticide regulation undermines the state’s authority in regulating pesticides and ensuring they are used properly and safely throughout the state. The necessary expertise and enforcement capability are provided by Maryland Department of Agriculture.
“Even more concerning is that the ban includes the outdoor use of virtually all EPA and Maryland state registered pesticide products available at big box retailers, retail nurseries, grocery stores, online, and through lawn and landscape professionals. Harmful pests are still present in the county regardless of the Court’s opinion. Montgomery County residents now have no realistic options to treat their own property or to have professionals make treatments using products that have been approved for this precise use in Maryland by the U.S. EPA and Maryland Department of Agriculture and that have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective when used according to their labels.”
RISE says it is currently evaluating next steps to help ensure that each Montgomery County resident has the right to decide for herself or himself whether to use pesticide products that have been approved by the state of Maryland.
Jeff Griff, who owns a garden center in Chagrin Falls, OH, says the decision could become a major issue with the proliferation of harmful pests, and push individuals to apply products against the new regulations.
“I don’t think they have any idea what they are getting themselves into,” Griff says. “I would guess that after this passes, it will be adjusted into a more workable adaptation, but not until significant and costly pain has been inflicted.”
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