We Americans love us some organic. Whether it’s coffee, produce, beer, or wine, we heart the things we ingest to have that label. What about our weed?
You may be surprised to learn that marijuana can’t actually call its product “organic.” In the 1990s, the USDA began to develop a set of regulations determining what can be labeled organic. That means that the term “organic” is regulated by a federal legislative body, and marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. As a result of this judicial red tape, growers legally can’t market their product as such. In fact, several farms and dispensaries have even been shut down or fined for advertising their product with the “O”-word.
Still, some weed has pesticides and some is, well, organic. And there’s good reason to seek out farms that have been certified in some way as “organic”-esque. With the weed industry getting more competitive, farms are having to care for more and more plants, making it difficult to give the individual attention to each plant to ensure it’s growing properly. Additionally, many plants are grown indoors, where they are susceptible to a wide-array of diseases, without natural defense mechanisms that come from the outdoors. When putting these factoids to the price tag of your average mature marijuana plant being valued around $5,000, it should come as no surprise that many growers will resort to spraying gnarly chemicals, which can wind up on the bud that you buy, even in dispensaries. And lighting up with a chemically-laced bud means many of those same pesticides are going to down your throat.
Clean Green Certification
How can customers determine if their product is safe? Weed growers employ creative tactics to convey to consumers that their product is pesticide-free. One method that has frequently caught buzz over the years is the Clean Green Certification. Since 2004, Chris Van Hook, a marijuana compliance attorney from California and federal contractor for the USDA, tests farms on-site and through third-party laboratories on a yearly basis to determine whether their product is “clean.” This includes pesticide use (beyond what is regulated at the state level), mold treatment, as well as requiring plans to be environmentally sustainability.
These piecemeal methods of healthy and environmentally-friendly growing techniques are the best methods we’ve got at the moment.