In a culture that is becoming more localized, more health conscious and more aware of what goes into their bodies, it’s no surprise that the same people buying organic kale would also want to buy organic marijuana. But there’s a catch to cannabis cultivation and the term “organic”.
When it comes to plants, organic means they were grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge or ionizing radiation. Organic farmers emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conversation of water. “Organic” cannabis cultivation is possible and occurring presently, but why can’t it be labeled as such?
“Organic” Marijuana and the USDA
Even though cannabis cultivation can follow organic farming practices, it still can’t be packaged or labeled as organic. The reason behind this comes from that fact that marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the use of the word organic. Because marijuana is federally illegal, the government can’t acknowledge that it’s already being legally sold and organically produced.
The federal government is in charge of agricultural oversight, which means the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can’t register any pesticides for use on cannabis. Additionally, it can’t discover what pesticides that are used on marijuana do because it can’t fund any research into the effects. It’s now been left up to the states to regulate pesticides used in cannabis cultivation. For food crops, the EPA sets tolerances on pesticides used and there’s a system in place. With cannabis cultivation, there’s no regulation in place, which prevents the use of the term “organic”.
Clean Green Certified
Just because we technically can’t call marijuana “organic” doesn’t mean it can’t be produced organically. Clean Green Certified is the number one certifier in the nation for sustainable, naturally and organically based biodynamic practices for cannabis cultivation. Because the USDA doesn’t recognize cannabis as a legitimate agricultural crop, the Clean Green Certified program was created in 2004 as a way to regulate legal cannabis products that call themselves “organic”. Buying Clean Green Certified products verifies that it has met all of the requirements of the program.
Achieving the Clean Green certification is currently the closest cannabis growers can come to producing an “organic” product. For help getting your growing facility to meet the Clean Green Certified requirements, contact Whole Plant Technologies. In addition to selling grow tray systems that can be used for sustainable farming, Whole Plant offers consultation services to help your facility and products receive the Clean Green certification.