Matthew Brodeur

USDA Issues First Organic Hemp Flower Certification

The U.S. Department of Agriculture — which is the only agency in the country capable of certifying agricultural products as “organic” — has issued its first-ever organic certification for a hemp flower product.

Full story after the jump.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given South Carolina-based CBD brand Palmetto Harmony organic certification, marking the first time the agency has given the designation to a hemp flower product, according to a Bezinga report.

Company CEO Janel Ralph called it “one of the most important certifications” they could obtain.

“Many of the people that purchase CBD products are usually medically fragile, which is why it is very important for these people to have a level of security to know that there are no chemicals that could harm them going into their products.” – Ralph, to Bezinga

According to the report, organic status is among the more challenging USDA certifications to receive as crops must be grown in soil free of synthetic chemicals for at least three consecutive years. Farmers must provide the agency with a detailed list of items used in the cultivation process, including tools, containers, and the labels they use.

According to the USDA, certified organic product sales reached $7.28 billion in 2017 up from $3.12 billion in 2012. The Organic Trade Association says organic food accounts for 5.5 percent of total retail food sales.

Prior to last year’s federal de-scheduling of hemp by the Farm Bill, the USDA was unable to certify hemp-derived products as organic. Some hemp and cannabis companies did seek organic certification from private companies and non-profits in lieu of state or federal programs. In Maine, for example, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association provided their certification for medical cannabis products grown in the state.

Editor’s note: The certification described above marks the first organic certification for hemp flower specifically, but it is not the first organic certification for any hemp product. This article was updated for clarification.

Haleigh’s Hope was officially certified in March 2019, making that the first organic certification for a hemp product since hemp was federally legalized in late 2018. The first-ever hemp product certification, however, was issued in 2016 but was rapidly rescinded by the USDA.

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