How to Dispose and Compost for Cannabis Compliance
With the number of legal states growing with each new election season, waste regulations and requirements for how to properly dispose of cannabis waste are regularly being developed and differ slightly from state to state. Adhering to these regulations is of utmost importance for any grower or cultivator as failure to comply can lead to hefty fines or in extreme cases, loss of the ability to grow altogether. Although regulations vary in each state, a high quality waste shredder is one surefire way to ensure an operation has the ability to meet the basic requirements of green waste disposal. A cannabis waste shredder, available soon by Triminator, allows for waste compliance by breaking down raw plant matter into small, manageable pieces – a basic requirement in nearly all states where cannabis growing and producing operations are legal. The ability of a high quality waste shredder to reduce the volume of raw plant matter not only makes it an essential tool for waste compliance but also provides the ability for increased efficiency and ease of processing by drastically reducing the overall amount of output material.
For further green waste requirements let’s take a look at some of the state regulations for legal states on the East Coast.
Maine voters approved adult cannabis use nearly three years ago but the state has yet to set legislation for regulations. This appears to be changing soon and the Office of Marijuana Policy recently drafted a set of rules regarding all cannabis regulations in the state. While not yet legally set, these regulations will be fully in place later in 2019 and can be referenced for compliance with waste requirements.
Key points to Maine’s marijuana waste requirements include:
- Non-hazardous marijuana waste must first be rendered unusable before disposal and prior to leaving a production facility.
- This waste can be turned unusable by grinding or mixing plant material with other food or yard waste until the mixture is at least 50 percent non-marijuana material by volume.
- Any marijuana plant material that has been contaminated or treated with a solvent is classified as hazardous material and must be disposed of following the state’s hazardous materials regulations.
- Composting is encouraged but is subject to the composting rules of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Solid Waste Management Rules: Composting Facilities Rule, 06-096 C.M.R., chapter 410
- Root balls, soil, growing media, plant stalks, leaves and branches are classified as exceptions to these waste requirements as long as they are rendered unusable and free of any flowers and/or leaves with visible trichomes.
- A waste shredder is ideal to render plant material unusable.
The current written regulations for Maine’s cannabis waste requirements can be found on Section 9.2,Page 57 of this document.
- The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection considers cannabis plant material to be “commercial organic material,” and is banned from disposal in regular trash if a business generates 1 ton or more of material per week.
- If a “Marijuana Establishment” does generate over 1 ton of plant material a week, it must be disposed of at an established composting or anaerobic digestion facility.
- If a “Marijuana Establishment” generates less than 1 ton of plant material a week, it can be disposed of through normal trash but composting either onsite or through a proper facility is encouraged.
- Regardless of the amount of cannabis waste created, it must be rendered unusable before composting or trashed by mixing with other organic materials.
- Although no exact regulations exist to the amount of other organic material waste to cannabis waste, plant matter should be shredded or chopped into small pieces and then mixed to effectively render unusable.
- At least 2 “Marijuana Establishment Agents” must witness and document how the waste is disposed of or composted and a written or electronic record of this disposal must be dated and signed by the agents.
- There are no unique requirements to hauling cannabis waste material to a disposal facility once it is rendered unusable.
- The current written regulations for Massachusetts cannabis waste requirements can be found in the state’s Cannabis Control Commission regulations 935 CMR 500.105(12).
Other resources for proper waste disposal and composting resources can be found here.
The laws for recreational cannabis use and cultivation in New Jersey are still being developed and there is a lack of set requirements currently for waste disposal of plant material. Specific requirements will inevitably be developed as the framework for legal use and production is put in place. For now, the only real requirement set forth by the state is that cultivation applicants include a waste disposal plan within their applications. As regulations advance and a legal cannabis infrastructure becomes implemented, look for exact requirements to follow. With other states used as an example, rendering any plant material unusable and unrecognizable by using a high quality waste shredder is an excellent starting point.
For a look at the developing requirements for New Jersey marijuana waste click here.
While New York currently only allows for medical cannabis use, there are still some regulations in place for how to dispose of any medical marijuana. An in depth set of regulations is not yet in place for producers and growers in the state but the current limited regulations echo similar requirements of ensuring cannabis waste is unusable and unrecognizable to other states.
- Plant matter and other cannabis products must be rendered non-recoverable and beyond reclamation in line with the regulations laid out by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The current written regulations for New York medical marijuana waste disposal can be found in Section 1004.20 of the Medical Marijuana Program Regulations.
Other laws and regulations for New York can be found here.
While Vermont recently joined the growing number of states to legalize adult use of cannabis by passing Bill S.54 in April 2019, the House adjourned shortly thereafter without completing work on the bill a bringing it to a vote. The house majority leader claims that this is a top priority to address in early 2020 when it is readdressed. There are no current marijuana waste regulations to report for Vermont as a result.