Washington State Moves to Certify Organic Cannabis Farms

By Keith Mansur
Washington Cannabis Connection


In a welcomed move, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a large bill that contained numerous marijuana laws the legislature passed last month. It provided a path forward for home growing and a provision for smoking cannabis with friends. Lodged in the middle of the bill is also a law that will allow the state to certify organic cannabis grows.

Touted as the “Omnibus bill” on pot laws, the bill addressed a number of issues including industrial hemp, billboard ads with marijuana on them, retail location limits, and sharing your cannabis with a friend during a smoke session. The state also will address one major problem in most legal states, organic certification.

The bill will establish an organic cannabis certification program under their Department of Agriculture. Although federal law controls using the term “organic”, so cannabis has been left out due to its federal status. the state will, none-the-less, start a program that will certify that the cannabis was grown using “organic methods” to skirt the rules.

There are a number of organizations that certify a farm uses organic techniques when cultivating their crop, but none carry the official approval of the state. Companies like Certified Kind, Clean Green, and Dragonfly Natural all offer “certification” under their brand names, but they are not state sanctioned.

The state Department of Agriculture will run an “organic” certification program. If the governor signs this bill, there will now be an official certification for pot grown using organic methods. There are already private companies issuing “organic” certifications, but having a state-regulated certification has been a wish for a lot of the growers following these organic methods. The state won’t be able to use the word “organic,” because that is a federally controlled term and cannabis is still completely illegal under federal law, but this program will allow customers to know their pot was grown using organic methods.

“The state getting involved with organic cannabis certification is a good thing for the entire cannabis community,” Andrew Black of Certified Kind told Washington Cannabis Connection. “It’s a great step forward for legitimacy and promoting organic agriculture in cannabis.”

The process is in development and the law gives broad authority to the Washington State Department of Agriculture to develop the rules. The program is to be self-sustaining, which means a fee large enough to cover all the costs incurred by the state to develop and implement the program will charged. They will follow the practices, as much as possible, that already exist under the National Organic Program.

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