The explosive growth of cannabis in the United States, combined with minimal oversight by the federal government, has led to contamination and a labeling problem. According to an article in JSTOR Daily, large farms in Northern California use toxic rodenticides and pesticides that then drain into neighborhoods, killing animals and polluting water sources. And it’s not just the top left of the ring. According to the Cannabistech article, Colorado law requires cannabis waste to be mixed in equal parts with approved non-consumable materials before it can be disposed of, to prevent anyone from pulling the discarded product out of dumpsters, but this practice nearly doubles the waste created by cultivation. Fortunately, new rules are coming into effect that will make the mix of cannabis waste dumped in landfills more sustainable, but they won’t fully compensate for what’s already been dumped.

Beyond the environmental challenges of a growing industry, finding truthful labels can be a headache for consumers. Because the federal government has no regulations, there are no guidelines for cannabis approved by the USDA or the FDA, so labeling is essentially left to the whims of the brand.

How do you know if the grass labeled organic is really organic if no one keeps track? Can you trust all cannabis companies to label their products in good faith? Of course we hope for the best, but that’s not always the case, given the numerous recalls in California, Colorado, Oklahoma and other states.

So where can we, as cannabis consumers, go if we want to support sustainable growth through organic methods?

Importance of clean, green, certified turf

Chris van Hook founded Clean Green in 2004. Van Hook was a former attorney who worked for the USDA’s National Organic Program. Realizing the growing and ongoing problem of the unregulated cannabis industry, he decided to offer a Clean Green certification program for both the environment and cannabis enthusiasts.

Obtaining organic certification requires rigorous testing and inspection to determine the use of pesticides and sustainable practices. Certification is valid for one year only, so specialist farms must observe cultivation ethics at all times.

Cristina Buccola, an expert on cannabis legislation and regulatory programs, told Weedmaps: The process includes completing an application, intensive crop/plant testing, and test drilling. Only state-approved companies may conduct clean environment assessments.

Once cannabis is finally legalized in all 50 states, federal regulations will undoubtedly change and cultivation may be subject to much stricter standards. In the meantime, programs like Pure Green have jumped into the gap to fill the void and allow honesty and integrity to flourish.

Sustainable and organic cannabis brands we like

Just in time for Earth Day, here are four clean, certified green products that are good for both your body and our planet.

Lazy Bee Gardens

An award-winning flower, grown in the sun and without recycled fertilizers. Lazy Bee Gardens knows how to care for the environment while delivering potent cannabis. Take a look at their long list of raw strains and feel the difference with sustainable, sun-grown cannabis.

Available: Washington

Snodgrass Family Genetics

Snodgrass Genetics’ plants are grown with solar energy to conserve water and soil, and are 100% free of pesticides, chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. Not only can you smoke your own small batch of organic cannabis, but you can light it with your own blown glass. Yeah, this is Snodgrass.

Available: Oregon

Holy Sun Farms

THC is not the only cannabinoid that needs to be restored organically. Sacred Sun Farms, based in Montana, offers certified organic CBD and THC products and takes it one step further by using natural Korean growing practices with living soil and sustainable packaging of its strains.

Available: Montana

Applegate River Roots

The Apple River Roots of Southern Oregon pride themselves on their sustainable farming practices. They even use organic crops to enhance native soil and use native beneficial insects – like ladybugs – for biological pest control.

Available: Oregon

Submitted by Gina Coleman/Shared Cards

Hannah Meadows

Hannah is a Seattle-based writer and editor. She has been working in the cannabis industry for three years now and continues to learn and research.

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