Washington: Marijuana Worker Protection Standards Released by Agriculture Department


As legal cannabis business grows larger, states are realizing standards need to be set.

In the latest step toward standardizing cannabis cultivation, the Washington State Department of Agriculture released formal recommendations called the “Worker Protection Standards (WPS): Requirements for Marijuana Growers.”

Standards in the regular world of agriculture are created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, USDA inspection or certification of cannabis is prohibited because USDA employees must abide by federal laws. Over half of U.S. states have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana use, but since the USDA cannot get involved, there are no set standards for cannabis cultivation.

In a bold yet inspiring move, Washington has decided to go rogue and develop their own guidelines to ensure worker safety and quality control.

The WSP: Requirements for Marijuana Growers that the Department of Ag generated is mostly focused on pesticide protection. It requires pesticide safety training before beginning employment that must be provided by a qualified WPS trainer. These regulations also require personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn to protect individuals from contact with pesticides. Standard PPE includes a respirator, chemical resistant gloves and protective eyewear.

These new regulations also set pesticide re-entry restrictions, ensuring no employees are put at risk of contamination. After an area has been treated with pesticides, it cannot be entered again for at least four hours. Proper warning signs must be visible from all points of access into the garden for three days after treatment.

These rules officially take effect in January of 2017.

See the WSP: Requirements for Marijuana Growers in detail.


About Author

Allie is a NW-based content curator for Marijuana.com and an organic farmer at TKO Reserve. She has been a professional in the marijuana industry since she was 18 years old, spending the first five years of her career working for Dope Magazine as lead photographer. Allie has worked on mainstream projects such as Idiot's Guide: Growing Marijuana, Branding Bud: The Consumerization of Cannabis and her own self-published book, As The Grass Grows.


  1. I’m getting reports from the field that there are reporters out doing a lot of digging and interviews for stories on illegal pesticide use here in Washington….and as much as Rep Chris Hurst, whose committee oversees the LCB, doesn’t like it…..the LCB is going to outed by the press on their totally lax treatment of pesticide abuse and crooked lab testing. Expect lawsuits over this one….just when they were hoping this issue of pesticides would just go away on its own.

  2. Justin Mullenix on

    I’d just like to submit a correction. It is EPA that administers the Worker Protection Standard, not USDA.

    • Yes, you are correct. Also, WA did not “go rogue and develop their own guidelines,” as this report claims. These guidelines have been in place for all other agricultural workers for years. WPS training has been required in Colorado cultivation operations since last year.

      I made a similar comment earlier but for some reason it doesn’t seem to have made it through screening.

  3. I hope ANY pesticide use on flowering plants is not being done, and if so, should be required to be listed in a point Font ten times larger than any other writing on the product label. I wouldn’t buy product from growers that use any pesticides, period.

Leave A Reply