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Maine Program Aims to Provide Clean Cannabis Certifications

The Certified Clean Cannabis pilot program, launched last month by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, is hoping to be the first on the East Coast to set medical marijuana growing standards, according to a Portland Press Herald report. The program would use standards similar to those utilized for certifying organic food products.

John Krueger, MOFGA board member, helped develop the certification standards over the past two years. He indicated that five growers in the state have been certified so far as part of the trial phase and said the program is “ahead of the curve.” The five farmers together gave MOFGA $3,000 for the initial certifications. Certified products are given a C3 logo to show they were approved by the standards.

“This program brings (caregivers) credibility,” Dawson Julia, owner of East Coast CBDs, one of five growers certified by the program, said in the report. “If I was going to the grocery store to buy food, I’d want to make sure it’s certified organic by an oversight organization. It’s the same thing with cannabis.”

Due to marijuana’s federal status, the products cannot be called “organic” — that term is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. A similar program is underway in Colorado.

The standards require soil-based production, and cannabis grown hydroponically is not considered clean. All pest and mold control products must be organic, and applicants must fill out an extensive survey about the products used in their cultivation practices; both their records and gardens are inspected.

All certified caregivers who make more than $1,000 a year under Maine’s medical marijuana program are already required to hold a basic pesticide applicator license. Under the recreational use ballot initiative that will be put to voters in November, all cannabis would need to be tested before it is made available for purchase, but products considered for the C3 certification would still be subject to the program’s independent oversight.

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