Legal & Regulation
California To Launch an Organic Cannabis Certification Program, OCal
The state of California is looking forward to launching an organic cannabis program. The California Department of food and Agriculture has created this program that is almost similar to the National Organic Program (NOP), which operates at the federal level. NOP is yet to unify cannabis regulation in the United States since it is still illegal at the national level.
NOP has set high and uniform standards of organic agricultural products that have the USDA Organic symbol on them. There are uneven cannabis regulations in different state markets due to lack of a national cannabis certification system. California’s proposed program called OCal targets at bringing the state’s cannabis regulation standards in line with the national level standards.
OCal will launch on January 1, 2021. The final working group meeting was held this week in Sacramento, California. The rules for the program are yet to be finalized, and producers are hoping that they won’t require a law degree to understand the rules. Being closely similar to NOP, OCal will apply some of NOP’s practices that will allow producers and businesses earning less than $5,000 in the industry annually to term their merchandise as organic without harsh certification procedures.
Producers offering Non-organic cannabis products will be able to bring their crops into the new program by adopting organic growing practices. Although OCal cannot retrieve cannabis licenses of violators of the rules, they are in a position to issue fines not exceeding $18,000.
The passing of the Farm Bill 2018 legalized hemp in the United States. However, cannabis still remains a schedule 1 drug in the U.S, which makes it equally harmful as LSD or heroin at the federal level.
As the demand for cannabis and CBD products continue to accelerate, companies in the marijuana industry will compete to supply organic CBD products. This may be seen as an opportunity for hemp growers in the United States, but the USDA still certifies hemp imported from other countries.