WA proposes new cannabis regulator, organic MJ program

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The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has proposed hiring a new cannabis regulator whose job could include administering a program to certify organically grown marijuana.

“There seems to be consumer interest in that,” WSDA spokesman Hector Castro said of organic certification, according to the Capital Press. “We have done this for other commodities, obviously.”

Since Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board has been responsible for regulating the industry.

The board contracted with the WSDA to test cannabis for pesticides and to check the labeling of edibles.

Now the board wants the WSDA to be in charge of testing and inspections, which would be funded by marijuana tax revenue. The department has submitted a two-year budget proposal to Washington’s governor that would assign those programs to the WSDA, according to the Capital Press.

Around the country, state government and industry officials have addressed organically certified marijuana with mixed results.

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners is taking steps to make Maine the first state on the East Coast to regulate organic marijuana like organic food.

In May, Colorado state lawmakers rejected organic certification for marijuana amid fears that organic labeling would imply marijuana is healthy. Others voiced concerns the U.S. Department of Agriculture would penalize Colorado agriculture regulators for labeling a federally illegal substance as organic. The federal government regulates organic standards.