George Soares on How DPR Sees Cannabis

Soares: DPR Interpretation of Cannabis is Wrong

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

George Soares, a partner in Kahn, Soares, and Conway, a law firm based in Sacramento, recently spoke about the issues surrounding cannabis. He is managing partner of the firm and represents several agricultural commodity and trade groups in Sacramento.

He spoke at the recent California Associations of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA) annual meeting in Anaheim. He touched on the fact that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is not thinking of the public in their handling of crop protection materials on cannabis.

“The people of California have decided that cannabis can be consumed by the public,” Soares said. “The question is how to grow the cannabis under the regulation.

Currently, the chemicals and fertilizers used to grow the cannabis are all illegal.

“So far, the solution is that we make it legal by stretching the interpretation of the law,” he explained.

By law, pesticides have to be labeled for use, and eligible crops must be on the label.

“The pesticides being used are being interpreted in ways to make it legal to use on cannabis,” Soares said. “Think about the damage that is doing to the legal structure of what we all adhere to.”

“DPR would never let a pesticide be used off-label, but when it comes to cannabis, it looks like the government is willing to let it slide,” he said.

George Soares Says Agriculture Must Make Some Noise

Agriculture Must Be Engaged to Take Care of Itself

“We all need to make more noise,” said George Soares, a founding partner of Kahn, Soares & Conway, a law firm known for its expertise in agricultural, environmental, water, business and administrative law. With offices in Sacramento and Hanford, in Kings County, the firm represents many California Ag Businesses.

Soares noted it is critical that agriculture be engaged during these tough regulatory times.

“And agriculture must be engaged,” Soares elaborated. “It’s an amazing industry for what it has accomplished. We always solve problems. That’s how we exist in agriculture; we are solution-oriented,” said Soares.

“These problems are becoming enormous here, in California, for a variety of reasons. So California agriculture needs to be as engaged as possible in the political and government process because the state’s ag industry is so important to our future–so influential on whether we are successful or not,” he said.

“Water is our biggest example. We need storage; we need government to better understand,” said Soares, and that means we need to make noise. We need a solid message coming from agriculture. From my experience, government politics is situational; so if we say nothing, we are really victims of what other people think.”

“We need to make noise,” he continued. “We need to send our messages as effectively as we can. Whether it changes the ESA–I don’t know–but I know that if we don’t try, nothing is going to happen. So we have to keep pushing. What choice do we have?”