Regulators in the California Department of Food and Agriculture have unveiled their OCal program, which will label organically grown cannabis products in a market scorned by federal regulators.
The proposal, which was released last week, would “ensure that cannabis products bearing the OCal seal have been certified to consistent, uniform standards comparable to the National Organic Program,” according to a CDFA statement. California regulators also announced they would be accepting public comment on the proposal until July 7.
Notably, certified products will be allowed to display the OCal seal but still cannot be labeled as “organic.” The “certified organic” label found commonly in grocery stores is regulated by the USDA, which — because it is a federal agency that must obey federal laws — automatically prevents cannabis products from qualifying for the official organic certification.
CDFA heard from some 250 cannabis industry stakeholders while crafting rules for the certification program, Cannabis Wire reports.
“Our hope is that the proposed program will be cost effective enough that the cannabis industry can fully participate,” said Sarah Armstrong, policy chair for the Southern California Coalition.
“Right now, testing expenses represent 10% of the cost of product production, resulting in an exceptionally pure product at no small expense. Hopefully the Organics Program can work with cultivators to develop methods which ensure the program safeguards purity in a cost effective manner.” — Armstrong, via the Cannabis Wire
If approved, OCal would be the first organic-comparable state certification program for cannabis products and could set the standard for similar programs in other states.
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