“In 2004, California organic farm inspector Chris Van Hook submitted an unusual request to the US Department of Agriculture: He wanted permission to certify a medical marijuana farm as organic. He’d already inspected three pot farms, he says, before word came back that weed couldn’t be organic because it wasn’t a federally recognized crop.
So Van Hook founded Clean Green, a certification program for medical marijuana farmers that’s nearly identical to the USDA’s organics program—except that it can’t legally use the term “organic.” Since launching in 2004, Clean Green has certified 80 medical marijuana growers who last year produced 8,000 pounds of cannabis valued at as much as $33 million. It’s the only inspection service aimed at pot smokers who want their ganja to be farmed as safely and ethically as their organic salad greens.
In practice, medical marijuana is typically greener than pot from your curbside drug dealer, which is often sourced through Mexican cartels or illegal grows in national forests. But the distinction pretty much stops there. Grown under the radar of state and federal agricultural authorities, even “medical” cannabis can be covered in toxic mold, raised in rooms filled with shedding pit bulls, or coated in commercial-grade synthetic fertilizers and insecticides such as phosphate and Diazinon, which can be especially toxic if improperly applied. “Under our program a huge advantage is the patient can be assured that their cannabis is being grown in a legally compliant manner,” says Van Hook. Well, at least “legally compliant” enough for any eco-conscious stoner.”
Read the full article here