Judge Terrence McGann ruled in favor of the professional landscape community stating the ban “flouts decades of State primacy in ensuring safe and proper pesticide use, undermines the State’s system of comprehensive and uniform product approval and regulation, and prohibits products and conduct that have been affirmatively approved and licensed by the State.”
The decision sets an important precedent regarding pesticide use and regulation in the state and nationally.
RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) President Aaron Hobbs said, “We are gratified that the Court agreed that the County’s ban on the use of State- and EPA-approved pesticides on private land is preempted by Maryland state law, which already provides uniform and comprehensive regulation of pesticide use across the state.
“Today’s decision is a win for resident and community choice. Pesticides purchased and applied by consumers and licensed professionals in the county help maintain healthy outdoor spaces for more than 1 million people who call the county home,” added Hobbs.
In November 2016, RISE, along with seven residents, six local businesses, and CropLife America, filed a legal challenge to Montgomery County’s ban on the application of hundreds of lawn and garden products on private property. A grassroots coalition of more than 400 residents, homeowners and licensed professionals worked together to oppose the ban since it was introduced in 2014.
The ban narrowly passed the County Council, with County Executive Ike Leggett expressing doubt about its legality before allowing it to go into effect without his signature. This grassroots coalition succeeded in laying the groundwork for a successful legal challenge to a contentious and complex ordinance that left Montgomery County residents uncertain about how to protect their lawns from weeds and pests.