Washington Opens Door to Organic Certification for Cannabis Farms

Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill on Tuesday that opens the door to organic certification for cannabis products in Washington state, according to a Reuters report.

Experts believe it will be the first legal avenue for organic certification of cannabis products in the U.S., as the term “organic” must typically go through the USDA — a federal agency that, due to the plant’s ongoing federal prohibition, is unable to recognize cannabis growers as legitimate business owners.

Republican Sen. Ann Rivers, who sponsored S.B. 5131, called the move “consumer-driven.”

“As we have moved forward in the legal marijuana market, we’re hearing people say, ‘We don’t want any pesticides, fungicides, none of that stuff in our weed,'” Rivers said.

The actual certification process for organic cannabis in the state will be left for Washington’s Department of Agriculture to determine; but, according to Rivers, the “heavy lifting” of the state’s program will be covered by following the USDA’s official rules for organic labeling.

The bill contains several more provisions related to cannabis and was known as the “cannabis omnibus bill” in some media reports. Additional provisions include one allowing cannabis to be shared among consumers, another directing the Liquor and Cannabis Board to investigate potentially allowing homegrown cannabis, and yet another for an investigation into the prospects of farming industrial hemp (which remains illegal in Washington state despite its adult-use cannabis regime).

Washington is one of now eight U.S. states that have voted to legalize marijuana, though it is the only state to have done so without allowing adults to grow their own cannabis plants.

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