Currently, the Canadian government’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has approved of 20 pesticides that can be used on commercial cannabis. This list is not static. Last May, there were 17 registered products. In April of this year, it was updated to 21 products. It has since dropped to 20. The pesticide removed? Monsanto’s Actinovate SP, a fungicide. A government spokesperson said this decision was made because the manufacturer requested Health Canada remove the use on cannabis from the product label. In turn, Health Canada removed Actinovate SP from the list of approved pesticides.
The pesticides that the PMRA has approved are biological in nature—bacteria, fungi, protozoans, bugs that eat other bugs. There are no chemical insecticides approved for use. The culprits that LPs are looking for include thrips, aphids, spider mites, fungus gnats, whiteflies, and more.
Keeping them at bay takes a combination of pest control techniques, says Upeksha Nanayakkara, who works in quality assurance at 7Acres, a subsidiary of Supreme Cannabis. “You can’t just rely on the products that Health Canada has approved,” she says. “None of these products are effective in eliminating a disease or a pest on their own.”