MMJ organic certification program proceeding in Maine

Maine could become the first state on the East Coast where medical marijuana is grown to standards like those for certified organic foods.

A new program to create an organic certification system for MMJ in Maine could be rolled out by next summer. If so, the market for certified organic marijuana could be significant if Maine voters approve a ballot measure this fall legalizing recreational MJ. Polls suggest the initiative will pass.

Launched by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the Certified Clean Cannabis program is undergoing a yearlong trial phase in which five MMJ cultivators in the state have been certified as organic growers, the Portland Press Herald reported. Together, the five paid the association $3,000 for initial certification.

It’s the first such program on the East Coast and one of the few nationwide to establish standards for cultivating medical cannabis without potentially harmful chemicals, the Press Herald reported.

The organic standards require soil-based production and that farmers use organic products or methods to prevent or eliminate pests and mold. Hydroponic cannabis is not considered organic, under the standards. Growers must also fill out surveys about their growing practices, and undergo site inspections by independent inspectors, according to the Press Herald.

While marijuana’s status as a federally illegal drug prevents it from receiving a federally approved USDA organic certification, many growers tout their products as organic anyway.