The Colorado farm is the first official USDA certified organic cannabis farm.
Many growers claim their cannabis crops are organically grown, but until recently consumers and patients have had to take their word for it.
The Colorado cannabis farm, CBDRx, decided to obtain organic certification from the USDA.
The USDA Organic seal appears on a wide variety of goods from cereal, to produce, ice cream, and so on. It is the standard by which organic goods are produced in the US.
Other organizations offer organic certification, but the USDA certification is considered the norm.
The organic accreditation, however, comes at the expense of some confusion.
Penelope Zuck, the USDA’s organic program accreditation manager, said in a 2015 statement, “Marijuana may not be certified organic under the USDA organic regulations,”
But less than a year later, Zuck told one news outlet, “As long as the industrial hemp is grown according to the Farm Bill, it can be certified organic to the USDA National Organic Program.”
The difference is a matter of terminology.
“Hemp” refers to the variety of cannabis with little to no THC or other cannabinoids and is used for the production of fiber, oil, and other products.
“Marijuana,” on the other hand, refers to the psychoactive varieties of the plant.
Thus, the USDA granted CBDRx granted organic certification for their hemp products, but not their marijuana products.
Given that hemp products are generally not consumed, the organic certification does little to reassure consumers who want to know that their cannabis is free from chemicals.
While the move to certify a hemp farm as organic is historic, there is still a lot of work to be done before you will see the USDA certified organic logo in your local dispensary. But perhaps that day will come soon.