DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Green and Clean?
The numbers don’t lie. With recreational sales of marijuana in Oregon smashing Colorado and Washington’s first week records, the word on the street is that dispensaries across the state are struggling to keep up with demand. Which most likely means, even with the explosion of new gardens this summer, there will be many more people applying for both medical and recreational licenses in the coming year, hoping to help to supply the demand, and strike it rich in this new “green-rush.”
Thankfully, the State of Oregon is including rules for licensing that will require testing of all products. This not only keeps consumers safe, but these rules also will help keep the environmental impacts of all this new agriculture in check.
As this is all still federally illegal, it is impossible, currently, for a cannabis farmer to certify their garden as organic. Even so, there are many farms that consider themselves “beyond organic,” such as Rogue Valley farm Green Source Gardens. A visit to their farm reveals the exciting, permaculture methods that can be incorporated to grow clean cannabis.
For the most part, though, to avoid consuming some of the harsh chemicals that the marijuana industry has been gaining a bad reputation for, the consumer has to simply take the farmer’s word on it, and trust that the lab tests are honest. There are chemical fertilizers that can wash into water ways causing algae blooms and killing salmon, pollinator-killing pesticides, not to mention the negative health benefits of smoking these potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
A bit more than simply taking someone’s word for it, though, is the Clean Green agricultural certification program, which is working to provide a system that will provide safety and standardization, helping the growers implement and use sustainable agricultural methods that also promote environmental stewardship. The label provided by complying with the certification provides consumers with as assurance of a certain level of quality being produced by the complying farm. This voluntary certification program is the only nationally recognized third party certification program for cannabis. They inspect the whole process, from seed to harvest, as well as help ensure that all the legal bases are covered.
Consumers are the driving factor, so informed consumers insisting on purchasing clean cannabis will ensure that best practices are observed across the board. As many are consuming cannabis for its medicinal benefit, it only makes sense that they should insist on certified clean- hey, perhaps even lovingly-grown product.