Cannabis and the counterculture—let’s think back to the 60s and the stereotypical hippie. They’re wearing tie-dye, smoking a joint, and all about getting ‘back to nature’. While many modern-day hippies still advocate for cannabis, the reality is that some marijuana is far from being au naturel. Let’s not even get into (organic cannabis yet).
Since Canada became the world’s first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis in 2018, much of the world has followed suit. Global cannabis sales are expected to grow 852% by 2024, reaching $103.9 billion. With more people buying weed, consumers will start to have more say in how it’s produced.
Organic Cannabis & Sustainable Strains
With Canada’s legalization of cannabis came more environmental regulation. Health Canada recently reported that only 5% of sampled cannabis tested positive for pesticides. Growers in BC have adopted integrated pest management practices instead of using chemicals. Considering that smoked chemicals are quick to enter the bloodstream, facts like these can make smokers feel more comfortable when lighting up.
Some consumers might want more though. Compared to other groups, millennials are the top buyers of organic food—83% buy organic each week. This age group also happens to be the biggest consumer of cannabis. When you put two and two together, it’s easy to see why organic cannabis may become the norm going forward.
Certified Organic Cannabis
Organic certification is complicated. Currently, regulation of cannabis falls under the 2018 Cannabis Act, which is separate from laws under the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA). Since cannabis is not considered a food, it’s unable to be certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
I know, I know. Too many acronyms. Here’s the bottom line: with current regulation, you won’t see the same Canada Organic logo at your local dispensary that you do on an apple at the supermarket.
Where To Get Organic Weed Now?
If you’re into stopping at Whole Foods to grab organic snacks for your afternoon sesh and want something equally as natural to smoke, you’re in luck. Pro-Cert has stepped into to help certify organic producers in the U.S. and Canada. They’re a third-party certification body that has provided certification for companies like Organigram and The Green Organic Dutchman.
Another third-party label ensuring the best-grown bud comes from Clean Green Certification. Their standards are based on those from the USDA. Reportedly “the closest to “organic” that cannabis can get,” the organization now certifies cannabis producers in some areas of the U.S. and Canada. Producers under this certification are becoming agricultural leaders when it comes to issues like water conservation and labor rights.
The Future Of Clean Organic Cannabis
Canadian organic standards are being reviewed this year. Various stakeholders have been involved, including members from the cannabis industry. Experts are trying to wrap their head around moving cannabis from the ‘drug’ category to the ‘food’ category so that it can be regulated as such. By November 2020, there could be a better framework around certifying cannabis as organic.
What could this mean for consumers? It means an emphasis on food safety, fair labor, and a healthy environment. The certified organic weed of the future might look like this:
- Soil: Cannabis plants will be grown in healthy soil (meaning hydroponics may not be considered for organic certification). They won’t be sprayed with banned fertilizers and pesticides for at least 12 months before entering your vape pen. There will be an abundance of birds and bees and worms all living happily in a peaceful and healthy ecosystem.
- Light: Artificial lighting could only supplement natural lighting.
- Energy: More outdoor growing = less energy requirements (I mean, what would the ‘back to nature’ hippies think about warehouse growing?!).
- Labor: Working conditions are will be IDEAL. They’ll address gender issues and considering indigenous rights. More people of color will be involved in the industry.
How does this sound? Would you care about issues like these when looking for a new strain or method of consumption to try? Would you pay more for certified organic cannabis?