Tag: cultivation (page 2 of 14)

Happy Earth Day: How Cannabis Helps the Planet Year Round

Last Earth Day, Cannabis Reports (formerly Smoke Reports) wrote about five reasons why cannabis can help the environment. In the past year, cannabis awareness has spread and more people are joining the conversation about the positive impact of cannabis.

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Cannabis Reports know the importance of recognizing Earth Day, and remaining conscious of our ecological footprint. The progress of the cannabis industry over the last year is evident from advancements in legitimate cultivation practices, industrial hemp production and conversion to alternative materials and fuels.

Industrial Hemp Farming Gets A Lot of Attention

Growing hemp for industrial purposes can have a dramatic effect on the environment, almost exclusively for the better. Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) produces a plentiful amount of fiber, and rapid growth cycles allow farms to regenerate materials much faster than other pulp and fiber sources.

Hemp (source)

Hemp (source)

Hemp production also consumes an incredible amount of carbon dioxide, and is capable of reloading soil with healthy nutrients.

Last year, Congress heard Senate Bill 134 (Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015), and since that time, many state legislatures (most recently Alabama and Pennsylvania) have introduced regulations promoting the hemp cultivation industry.

Alternative Fuels and Materials Derived from Cannabis

Widespread cannabis cultivation could potentially separate us from our addiction to petroleum-based products and fuels. Alternative cannabis-baed materials have been getting a lot of recent attention, especially in the fields of construction and engineering.

Hempcrete Used for Construction (source)

Hempcrete Used for Construction (source)

Hempcrete is a great example of the prominence of cannabis when it comes to innovative ideas. A University in Finland recently granted 70,000 euros to research cannabis for construction purposes.

Medical and Recreational Cannabis Cultivation

Over the last few months, cannabis legislation has been presented in multiple states that would allow for legal cannabis opportunities. One of the negative aspects of illegal cannabis is that cultivators are forced to hide their farms, often resulting in water diversion, waste and sewage run-off, and hazardous land grading.

Aftermath of an Illegal Cannabis Farm Discovered by the U.S. Forest Service (source)

Aftermath of an Illegal Cannabis Farm Discovered by the U.S. Forest Service (source)

California is home to thousands of cannabis cultivation sites. At the end of 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed three cannabis bills that grant the cannabis industry opportunities to operate as legal, regulated, for-profit businesses.

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By bringing cannabis into the light, cannabis farmers can feel comfortable growing their flowers without resorting to harmful and irresponsible cultivation practices.

Have a Happy Earth Day

Earth Day is a great opportunity to reflect on your personal relationship with the environment. Cannabis often gets bad press about its impact on the environment, and it is important to remember that cannabis can be incredibly positive, provided we make those opportunities possible.

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DEA Releases Inventory Data for NIDA-Produced Cannabis in Response to Questions about the Program

In response to several inquiries about the availability of cannabis for medical research, the Drug Enforcement Administration released detailed information in a letter about the contract between NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and the University of Mississippi.

This contract is the only federally-approved program under the Controlled Substances Act, and the only source of cannabis available for clinical research.

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The data reveals the types of cannabis available as well as the quantity of cannabis approved for production by the federal government. The total 2015 NIDA cannabis inventory weighed just over 1020.8 kilograms. That is over 2250.5 pounds of cannabis, much of that being clones capable of producing far beyond that weight in flower.

Indoor Cannabis at the University of Mississippi (source) Featured Image Shows Outdoor Fields at UMISS (source)

Indoor Cannabis at the University of Mississippi (source). Featured: Outdoor Field at UMISS (source).

What Kind of Cannabis is the Government Growing?

The DEA response estimates that the University of Mississippi currently has 185 batches of cannabis with “varying concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).” NIDA has classified these cannabis batches into twelve different categories based on their cannabinoid ratios. The following list breaks down the twelve chemotypical categories:

Placebo Marijuana (produced by solvent extraction)

  • THC (0%) / CBD (0%)

Low THC Varieties

  • Low THC (<1%) / Medium CBD (1-5%)
  • Low THC (<1%) / High CBD (5-10%)
  • Low THC (<1%) / Very High CBD (>10%)

Medium THC Varieties

  • Medium THC (1-5%) / Low CBD (<1%)
  • Medium THC (1-5%) / Medium CBD (1-5%)
  • Medium THC (1-5%) / High CBD (5-10%)
  • Medium THC (1-5%) / Very High CBD (>10%)

High THC Varieties

  • High THC (5-10%) / Low CBD (<1%)
  • High THC (5-10%) / High CBD (5-10%)
  • High THC (5-10%) / Very High CBD (>10%)

Very High THC Varieties

  • Very High THC (>10%) / Low CBD (<1%)

The NIDA program also offers bulk “marijuana cigarettes” containing material from a variety of chemotypes. Here is a list of the available cannabis pre-rolls as of January 6th, 2016.

How Much Cannabis was Used for this Research?

According to the letter, NIDA fulfilled twenty-three requests for bulk cannabis in 2015, and as of February 5th, 2016, there are four pending requests as well.

The data included also detailed the total cannabis shipments made between 2010 and 2015:

  • 2010: 19 shipments to 9 researchers
  • 2011: 21 shipments to 8 researchers
  • 2012: 16 shipments to 9 researchers
  • 2013: 15 shipments to 8 researchers
  • 2014: 23 shipments to 12 researchers
  • 2015: 23 shipments to 8 researchers, 4 pending requests

So How Much Cannabis Does the Government Have?

The total 2015 inventory is listed as 1020.8 kilograms, as well as 163,127 cannabis cigarettes currently available. There were 242.35 kg of high  THC cannabis, 371.93 kg of low THC cannabis, 307.02 kg of mixed material, and 99.5 kg of bulk material.

The full list of cannabis batches can be found in Appendix A of the DEA’s response.

“Regarding the surplus, DEA regulations provide that the quotas shall be sufficient to allow bulk manufactures to maintain an inventory equal to 50 percent of its average estimated net disposal for the current calendar year.”

The information released by the DEA in response to inquiries about the federal cannabis program is actually quite incredible. Cannabis has never been afforded much transparency, but the huge boom in international cannabis research has forced the DEA to answer questions about the NIDA/UMISS cannabis program.

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There is even an online menu for researchers budgeting cannabis studies. Non-placebo cigarettes are $10.96 a piece, placebo cigarettes are $13.94, and a kilogram of bulk material is $2,497.

Will the DEA Reschedule Cannabis?

The DEA also acknowledged that it will be considering the layers of issues that arise with cnanabis as a schedule I drug:

“[The] DEA has received the HHS scientific and medical evaluations, as well as a scheduling recommendation, and is currently reviewing these documents and all other relevant data to make a scheduling determination in accordance with the CSA.

[The] DEA will carry out its assessment of the FDA recommendation in accordance with the CSA requirements… [The] DEA understands the widespread interest in the prompt resolution of these petitions and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016.”

Cannabis Reports is devoted to covering news and advancements in the cannabis space. For the most up to date info on Cannabis Reports, follow us on Twitter, and like us on our Facebook page.

The Future of Our Industry: Cannabis Reports Interviews Chris Van Hook of Clean Green Certified

Cannabis Reports recently had the opportunity to interview Chris Van Hook, founder and Director of Clean Green Certified. Van Hook has been certifying the quality of cannabis for well over a decade, and the Clean Green Certified program is a well-known third-party accreditation program.

On Set with Chris Van Hook, Founder and Director of Clean Green Certified

On Set with Chris Van Hook, Founder and Director of Clean Green Certified

During the interview, Van Hook discusses federal and state guidelines, the future of traceability, and the truth about cannabis being improperly labelled as “organic.” Please feel free to reach out to the Cannabis Reports team, or contact Chirs Van Hook and Clean Green Certified directly through their websites, at CleanGreenCert.com.

Chris Van Hook Interview: Full Video and Transcription

Jay: We are here today with Chris Van Hook, founder of Clean Green Certified. Chris, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience with cannabis?

Chris: I will Jay, and thank you very much. I am glad to be here with Cannabis Reports. It’s an honor to be here and thank you for the invitation. My name is Chris Van Hook and I am the director of the Clean Green Certification program. It’s the only nationally recognized cannabis certification program based on the USDA national organic program. And we are certifying cannabis in six states now, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida. And I am also a medical cannabis compliance attorney here in California. I have been working, this is my 14th year. I think last year we certified close to 20,000 pounds. And we certify flowers, edibles, tinctures, body care products, so anything that is certifiable under the national organic program, is certifiable under the Clean Green program.

Jay: Wonderful. Can you tell us a little bit more about what Clean Green Certified does, and how it came about?

Chris (1:15): Sure, well it’s interesting. It came about at the request of the industry. I began certifying all agricultural crops and food processing facilities in 2003. In the last part of 2003, I was contacted by a cannabis farmer who said: “Can you certify my cannabis as organic?” So I wrote an email to the head of the California organic program, and he said: “Yes,” but the federal organic program said: “No, cannabis is not a federally recognized agricultural crop, so it’s therefore not eligible for organic certification.” Well the farmer said: “Isn’t there something you can do? The industry really needs it.” I said: “Sure, we’ll start the Clean Green Certification program.”

So I essentially found and replaced organic in my applications with Clean Green, and that’s an important issue because there is no organic cannabis. And really, anybody that claims their cannabis is organic is sort of screaming to the world that: “I know nothing about the organic program,” and it really is leading to a lot of consumer confusion, and you know, difficulty in the industry. And I think that’s only allowed in the unregulated world of cannabis. If these farmers were claiming to be organic in any other agricultural crop, they would be contacted within the first few months by their county ag commissioners or the state. So it’s actually an 11,000 dollar per violation federal labeling infraction to call your cannabis organic.

And one might wonder: “Well how comes thats never being enforced?” and it’s really just an issue of government inertia. You know, the cannabis industry is moving so quickly, and the government’s inertia and slow-moving, just simply isn’t able to keep pace. But I can absolutely guarantee, that as it becomes legal, and once its become federally legal, the cannabis farmers that are claiming organic status will be contacted probably within a couple of months. So, I think it’s a matter of consumer beware, that if someone’s claiming organic cannabis, consumer beware.

Jay: Wonderful. Can you tell us a little bit about the processes that actually go on when you are inspecting these farms, and what you are looking for?

Chris (3:30): Yeah, sure, absolutely. And again, we don’t just do farms. We do farms and processing and handling. So one thing that’s important with the Clean Green program is that we don’t make up answers, and we don’t make up what we are doing. We are basically taking the existing agricultural food handling and processing regulations and moving them into the cannabis industry. And I think that’s where we differ from some of the other certification companies that are out there. There are only eighty-four entities around the world that have made it through the USDA organic accreditation process, and we are one of those eighty-four. And so when we say something under the Clean Green program, or when we require something under the Clean Green program, it’s not something that we have made up. it is something that is already in existing regulatory frameworks, and we are just moving that into the cannabis industry.

So what we look for, is again, just as if you growing tomatoes or broccoli. We start at the very beginning. We start with what type of soil you are using? What type of cutting solution are you using if you are using one? What are the inputs, what are the fertilizers you are using in the veg stage, in the flower stage? What are the pest control mechanisms that you are using? Are you using naturally based pest control, or are you using synthetics? So anything that’s allowed under the national organic program is allowed under the Clean Green program, anything that is prohibited under the national organic program, is prohibited under the Clean Green program.

But it’s not only the organic program. The California department of food and ag, and the federal EPA have come out with guidelines for pesticide use in marijuana production. And so, those guidelines are interpreted the same way that we have been interpreting those regulations for years, and it’s simply that there are no registered pesticides for cannabis, and it is against federal law to use a registered pesticide not in compliance with their label. So all of the Eagle 20, all of the myclobutanil, all of the avid (word) that’s being used, is just a blatant violation of federal law. So when a farmer gets Clean Green Certified, not only are they a certified, known farmer, but they are also complying with both state and federal guidelines on pesticide use in cannabis. So we look at the pesticides, and then we also, again it’s not just the crop production, we also follow it all the way through to on-farm processing. Does their drying and curing room, is it clean, washable surfaces? Are the tables clean washable surfaces? Are their bathroom facilities nearby? Is there a hand wash station? Are they using clean, washable blue storage containers? Are they using clean, washable, or new, food-grade packaging for their products? And really, it doesn’t have to be sophisticated. You know, literally, a jug of water with a bar of soap on a tree stump is a hand washing station. So, we don’t necessarily tell them how to comply, but they just need to have a hand wash station nearby. So what we’ve done, this is our fourteenth year now certifying cannabis, and I am proud to say we have really helped clean up the cannabis industry, because you know years ago, people would be working in the fields without those, so even if you are in a remote location, you can still address those issues, and meet the existing standards, and provide a much safer, better quality product. So that’s the farm.

We follow it from seed or cutting, all the way to the final packaging ready for the dispensary or the outlet. And then just like the organic program, there is a processor/handler certification as well. And that starts once you receive that bulk product. Now, again, under the organic program, if they are going to open that bulk package, re-package it, reprocess it, or make any sort of edible or processed product from it, they need to be certified. The goal and the intent is so that when the final consumer purchases an organic product or a Clean Green Certified product, they can be assured that it’s been third-party certified, by qualified individuals, all the way from that final packaging, through the processor/handler, through the outlet, to the farm, and all the way back to seed or cutting. So the processor/handler certification starts from receiving the bulk product. Are they having clean washable surfaces to break it apart? Are they have a hand wash station near by? Do they have mechanisms in place across the six states we are currently working with lot numbers and trackability and traceability, to make sure that that consumer, when they are busing a Clean Green Certified product, it actually can be traced back to the grower that produced it. And so, what we do for the processor/handler, and again, is their packaging material food grade packaging? Are their labels appropriate? And is there a lot number on that final label that will correlate all the way back to the bulk product they receive, which would correlate to the farmer that grew it?

So it’s really important to have both a processor/handler, and a producer certificate. But there’s that middle section sometimes. It’s a processor handler that is making an edible product, or a body care product, or a tincture, and they also have to be certified as processor/handlers. Now what does that mean? An edible maker, that means that, again, under the organic program, under existing food regulations, are they making it in a licensed kitchen? Do they have food serve safe certified staff on hand each production run? Can they trace back where all of their ingredients came from? Are all of their ingredients organic, if available? Are they using Clean Green Certified product for their cannabis. So if you get a Clean Green Certified edible company, for example, that is Clean Green Certified, that consumer can rest assured that its made in a licensed kitchen, that they have food serve safe people on staff, that they’ve got all organic ingredients, if available: your sugar, your flowers, your chocolates, all of those are available as organic. And, that the cannabis is Clean Green Certified. So again, we don’t make up these regulations. These are the exact same regulations we would be looking at if we were there to audit or certify an existing organic cookie manufacturer. Body care products the same. You know, is your coconut oil organically certified? Is your shea butter organically certified? So really, the Clean Green Certified program is the only program that fully trains cannabis industry to move into the legal realm.

And again, it’s not necessarily not just for the organic realm, whether you are producing an organic or non organic cookie, you’re still going to need a licensed kitchen, you are still going to need traceability, you are going to still need all of that. So what do we do when we go to a processor/handler? We would look at for example, a cookie in retail packaging, which should have a label on it with a lot number, that we can trace back to the date of production, and on that date of production, there would be a list of the flower and the chocolate or the shea butter and the coconut oil, which would all have lot numbers, which would trace back to the day of receipt. And when we go to that receipt, we can pull out the organic certificate for that ingredient. And that’s what it means to be a Clean Green Certified processor/handler or producer.

Jay: Wonderful. So that’s the Clean Green Certified accreditation is really coveted. Have you seen issues with people claiming to be Clean Green Certified, and they are absolutely not on the list?

Chris (11:40): Absolutely, we get that. I guess that is sort of a compliment in a way. But that is a problem that we have had, an ongoing problem. And I will say that it’s largely a problem here in California. What we ask instead of track, tracing everybody down, and threatening them with trademark infringement, or threatening them with logo licensing infringement. We go back and we ask the consumer: “Help us protect this certification.” It’s not my certification, it’s our certification. We are all part of it. As a consumer, if someone’s claiming to be Clean Green Certified, ask to see their certificate. And on that certificate, there will be an expiration date. And so, if they are claiming to be Clean Green Certified, whether it’s your producer, handler, or whether it’s your crop producer. If they are claiming to be Clean Green Certified, ask to see their certificate. On that certificate, there will be a certification number. Not a name or an address, but a certification number. You can go to our website, at www.cleangreencert.com, and you can verify that that certification number is in fact current and true. We have had people photoshop certificates off of the internet. We have had people photoshop our logo and stick it on, and really, as much as we try to track down these people, it’s really the consumers out there in the field that notify us when someone is making those claims. So we appreciate that from our consumers, and it is an ongoing problem, and we do all we can to try to combat it.

Jay: Well like you said, it’s a compliment for folks be having the knock-off certifications circulating.

Chris (13:25): It’s a compliment, but for the consumer though, that’s really where the whole basis is. If that consumer is buying something they think is Clean Green Certified, they should take the little effort to ask to see that certificate, and take that number and go to our website to find out. That’s the only way we are going to be able to keep the integrity of the program.

Jay: So in terms of integrity, you are the road warrior that has been traveling around six states, for you know, over a decade, certifying these farms. Can you tell us a couple of horror stories, things that were just abysmal: “oh my gosh, how is someone still doing this?”

Chris (14:05): Well there’s a couple, if we’ve got the time. One little old lady, adorable little grandmother type, came up and said: “I am completely organic, I am completely organic. My only question is can I use human manure as a fertilizer?” Now this person had been producing cannabis and distributing it through, you know, very well know reputable dispensaries. (Oh no). And the answer, we can go back to the national organic program standards, I don’t have to make up an answer, but no, human sewage is not allowed under the national organic program, and I don’t care what sort of environmental ethic conversation we can have about the value of human manure, it’s not allowed on a certified product. That’s one. That is one reason why consumers should not trust somebody saying: “We’re organic,” and trust a qualified, third-party certification. Another one was a guy said: “I am completely organic. I am completely organic.” And two weeks before harvest, in order to get rid of the spider mites, he closes up his grow room, pops off a pyrethrum bomb and dowses his entire crop two weeks before harvest. Now, that is not certifiable, even though he is calling himself organic. And we picked that up when we do a soil sample.

Every farmer, every year, gets a soil sample collected and sent to a federally-licensed agricultural lab, the same lab that we use for our organic company. And they screen for seventy-five compounds which equates to about 150 brand names out on the market. And sure enough we picked up synthetic pyrethrums. Now this is a person who says: “I am organic, and I have been selling organic for years.” Interesting, another story, last one. I went to a farm, it was interesting, he had everything laid out, all of the inputs he was using, it was great, it was all organic, OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) listed ingredients. When I went out to the field for the inspection, there was a tarp over a pile. I asked the worker out there: “What’s under here?” He said: “Oh, those are all the fertilizers we use. ” We pulled out the tarp and of course it was all synthetics. That is the importance of doing onsite inspections, but not just onsite inspections, having qualified personnel doing those inspections. Every one of our inspectors under the Clean Green program either is currently or would qualify to be an inspector under the USDA organic program. So those are some of the stories. All three of those people were claiming to be organic, and again, that would only exist in the unregulated world of cannabis.

Jay: Well I am glad you brought that up. We are rapidly approaching the regulated world of cannabis, and although no one knows exactly what that’s going to look like, you have implemented procedures and standards from existing regulatory structures. The question that I have, is how does Clean Green Certified help these businesses, these processors, cultivators, with the legal compliance side?

Chris (17:20): OK, good question. Now, I am a medical cannabis compliance attorney here in California, so we are able to answer all sorts of legal questions on medical cannabis compliance, but no matter what state we work in, you have to be eligible for certification before you even get into the process. So there’s a pre-screening that occurs and number one, in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, everybody is registered in those states. So you need to be a permitted, registered grower, even to begin to apply. In California, we do not have that registration yet in the state, it’s coming. Buy you have to have an arguably defendable reason: “Where is all of this cannabis going? And what sort of business structure are you in?”

So we get a lot of people that call us: “We don’t care what you charge, we want to get certified.” “And what are you doing with all of this cannabis?” “Well, we are shipping it back east.” Well those people aren’t even eligibly certified, and that’s another important thing that consumer can play a part of. You know the consumer has a huge valuable part to play in this, just as we do in blood diamonds. If you’re buying an unlicensed, unknown cannabis, you don’t know if it’s been grown on national forest, you don’t know if it’s been grown in a house with poor electricity and young children sleeping in the other room. You don’t know what type of labor relations they were using for the trimmers. You don’t know if they are using human trafficked trimming crews from Guatemala. You don’t know any of that if its an uncertified product. But when you reach for a Clean Green Certified product, you know that not only is it being grown legally in that state, but there is also fair labor and fair trade practices in place. You have to have appropriate housing and appropriate sanitary conditions, and appropriate food for your trimmers, if you are coming in.

And then there is also a carbon footprint reduction program. You cannot get certified as a Clean Green producer or processor/handler unless you have a carbon footprint reduction program in place, and that program has to improve every year. So it really is much more than just how you are growing. It really is a more inclusive program of honesty, of sustainability, fair labor, and more important in these years of the drought, is that you have to have water conservation practices in place, and you need to have a legal water source. So you know when you are reaching for Clean Green Certified product, that farmers not pumping out of the creeks, that farmers not damming up some of the salmon streams. You know, we have all seen horrible stories about that. So that’s all very important, and the consumer has an awful lot of weight and they need to use it. The same consumer that buys organic cotton yoga pants, or shade-grown, bird-friendly, fair-trade organic coffee, needs to make that same reach when they are looking for their cannabis.

Jay: Wonderful. So as you know, Cannabis Reports is incredibly concerned with consumer safety and transparency. How would a company that would like to be Clean Green Certified get in touch with your association and schedule an inspection?

Chris (20:55): Well first of all, they can certainly contact Cannabis Reports because Cannabis Reports can lead them, direct them to the Clean Green certified program, so if they are already familiar with your website, they can certainly go there. Or they can go directly to our websites, at www.cleangreencert.com, that’s Clean Green C-E-R-T dot com. Click right on there, contact us through that website, whether they are a producer, a maker of edibles, tinctures, or body care products, or just a handler.

Jay: Chris, can you tell me a little bit about the quality of the people that are Clean Green Certified?

Chris (21:30): I can. I would be happy to because again, the program is not me, it is really about the farmers. And you know, when we started this fourteen years ago, we heard repeatedly that: “You can’t grow good cannabis organically. You can’t grow good cannabis organically.” But I am really proud to say that a Clean Green Certified grower has won the San Francisco High Times Medical Cannabis Cup since it started in 2010. A Clean Green Certified grower has won in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and again in 2015. Has won third place in the Seattle High Times Medical Cannabis Cup. Has won judges choice of Dope magazine of 2014. Has won the san francisco patients cup in 2012, 2014, and 2015. Has placed in the top five percent of the Emerald Cup every year that we have been involved. Has won first place the last three years. Won Southern Oregon’s cannabis cup, in four or five different categories. And won Oregon Leaf Hybrid of the Year. So really, not only did we convince the world that you can grow the finest cannabis in the world organically; when you join the program, you are really grouping yourself in with some world class growers. And what’s important to know is that we maybe only have 100-120 growers in our group right now, but these are the types of awards that they are growing. So really, as my friend Jorge said, “If you want to hang out with winners, get Clean Green Certified.”

Jay: Wonderful. You know, we have seen our share of excitement around your program. One of our friends down in Southern California, Green Soldiers Healers, is offering only Clean Green Certified flowers, and we have seen first-hand a lot of excitement from their patients. Can you speak on the network that is surrounding this? I know that there are several grower’s associations that are very devoted to Clean Green Certified.

Chris (23:45): There are. Thank you. Really, when we started fourteen years ago, it really was those that were way out ahead of the curve that were calling to get certified, and I’ve got to really hand it to Green Soldiers Healers, because when they started out, they saw the value of the program, and they just made the determination that they were just going to handle Clean Green Certified product. And I can’t tell you how many requests we get in the Los Angeles area: “I have cancer, I am sick. Where can I get some Clean Green Certified product?” So we are very glad that we can direct people, finally to Denise and Green Soldiers Healers. We need more down there, there is a huge demand for it. In Seattle, we have now had over 100 requests: “Where can we find it?” And that is what I am hoping we can develop and continue to develop with Cannabis Reports to help link our growers and to help link our locations, maybe through your website, and somehow have a mechanism that is available for people to locate where the Clean Green Certified cannabis is located, because we have a lot of requests and we do not yet have enough outlets for the growers that we have.

Jay: Excellent answer. This is an oddball question. I would love to ask it though. I want to give you the opportunity to do an I told you so moment five years ahead of time. What do you think the regulatory structure is going to evolve into, just from your expertise and your standpoint right now? Give us an idea of what could happen in the next five years as bigger players come in, more experienced in terms of consumable regulatory structures. Those individuals are getting ready to get on the train.

Chris (25:40): Yeah, that’s a good question. I think part of the problem with the cannabis industry is sort of this isolated naivety of so many people in the industry. They say: “Well, we are going to develop regulations, or we are going to develop best practices, and try and sell it to the state.” And when I go to the state meetings, they sort of chuckle at that. And they say: “No, we are fully competent in regulating this industry as soon as we are tasked with it.” So what I think is going to happen is that the existing regulations and standards are going to simply be transferred to the cannabis industry. You are still going to need a hand wash station, you are still not going to be able to us prohibited substances on your crops. If you are making edibles, you are still going to need a refrigerator thermometer that monitors the temperature of your freezers and refrigerators. All of those existing regulations are just going to simply be transferred in the cannabis industry. It’s really not going to be a matter of the cannabis industry telling the state how to do it. The state is already very very comfortable regulating this as an agricultural crop, and as an edible product.

But what I do often tell people is that the train is leaving. The train has already left the station. The regulations are coming in, and they are only going to become greater and greater. At this point in time, if you are just waking up to that, you know you almost have to run down the platform and jump to see if you can make it on to the caboose. Because as it becomes legal, right down at the very first stop, right at the next stop that train is going to stop at, there’s a lot of people that are going to come on. These are the green house, California Nurserymen’s Association, the flower growers, all these people are anxious to get into the cannabis industry, are waiting for it to become legal, and it’s not big corporate, and it’s not big corporations, and it’s not bad people. These are family farms that have been producing roses and orchids, and our landscape plants, that want to move into this industry. And they already know about permits, they already know about pesticide regulations. And they are already familiar with it. So I really think that the cannabis farmers that want to stay in the industry in the future have really got to start adapting and getting on that wagon, because in the next five years, this is going to be, if it’s not federally legal, it’s certainly going to be state legal in more states, and they are going to require all these regulations, so if any farmer is looking to stay in this industry, I would say get started now, because there are a lot of people that are very qualified, that are ready to move in as soon as they are able to.

Jay: So going to back to something you said. Well I guess let me extrapolate. The regulations that have been presented as of now, you know there is still a lot that is being determined of when recreational comes in, there will be a whole other slew, hopefully they will draw from the same stuff. When it comes to monitoring consistency and safety in an agricultural product, where is cannabis – what makes cannabis more complex than other products like corn or like tomatoes? And how can – what are the dangers in that regulation? I mean, for the state to come and say: “Oh, we are going to apply the same style of rules, and the same style of forms, just changed over to cannabis.” What could they miss?

Chris (29:25): Well interesting. Now when I say that the states going to move in with their regulations, I mean you are not going to be able to use prohibited substances, you are not going to be able to clear off hillsides, and have soil erosion. You are not going to be able to use human traffic labor. Those are the regulations I am talking about. You are going to need hand wash stations, refrigerators, etcetera. But the difficulty in cannabis is that even though we have got excellent seed companies producing world-class seeds, we are still only a few generations from wild. It’s not at all like corn where you can pick P34 corn and close your eyes and go out and harvest it in eighty days. We are just not at that point in the hybridization and the standardization of cannabis seeds. Also, there is wide variation in terpenes and THC and CBD, of the same seed grown in a different location, or even on the north side and south side of the same plant. So, I think that is going to be a unique difficulty with the cannabis, but I thinks it’s also, if you are smoking the flowers, I think that that is sort of a testament to the inherent safety of cannabis. You know, they will sort of mix in and get a general THC level of that particular plant.

Now that brings me to the whole issue of licensed and unlicensed labs. Because right now in the cannabis industry, certainly in California, all we have testing cannabis are unlicensed labs, so what we really need, to answer your question, is we need the federal government to allow federally-licensed agricultural labs to test cannabis in the states that allow cannabis to be grown. And until we allow for those licensed accredited laboratories to get involved, we are really just, you know, throwing dice as far as these unlicensed labs. I mean, there’s very educated people running them, very smart people, they have done a lot of work in the terpenes, but we still need that standardization. Now, the flowers are relatively safe because of their low THC compared to the concentrates, but once you get into the edibles and the concentrates, I think we are going to have a lot of regulatory issues that are going to come up. And I think that’s actually where Cannabis Reports’ work in that field is going to be very important, because we are going to see if you are blending an edible or a vaporizable concentrate, you are really going to need a database, sort of what you guys have developed, so that a scientist, or a food scientist, can blend terpenes, and come to a uniform concentrate or a uniform edible that’s the same each time.

I think that’s going to be difficult, you know, what we used to do, is grow a bunch of weed, and put it in butter, and mix it into your brownies, and who knew what was going to happen. I don’t think that technology is going to move into the regulated world. I think you are really going to get to what you guys have been doing, where you are developing terpene profiles, and specific batch standards, so that much like olive oil, or much like wine, the food scientist will be able to blend the olives, blend the wine, blend the cannabises, to come to a standardize product. So I think that’s going to be a difficulty that’s unique to cannabis as we started this question, but I think the flowers are going to have a general THC rating, I think it’s really going to become important when you have the edibles and the concentrates.

Jay: Tell me about when your relationship with cannabis started.

Chris (33:40): Well I mean, just like almost everybody, I started growing weed when I was a kid. Actually when I started, if we had found a bud, we would have pulled it off and wondered what the heck that was. If we had a shopping bag full of leaf, we were thrilled. I guess from there, it has grown to the modern industry. So we have seen quite a bit, I think, I was an abalone farmer for many years, I was a marine biologist. I’m not sure that I would have ever thought I could have grown abalone if I wasn’t getting high, and I know darn well I couldn’t have worked 16 hours on the water if I wasn’t. I think it’s a real fallacy for the country to say that cannabis is bad, cannabis is wrong. And you know, I am going to point to this story: remember when the hurricane sandy wiped out the new jersey shore? Devastating. Well it was the pot smoking music industry that twenty days later raised 20 million dollars for that industry, whereas the straight, hard-drinking regulators haven’t done anything yet. So you know, the whole concept of marijuana being for loser, or marijuana being for sort of drop-outs, is such old information, it really is not helpful.

You know, I am a lifelong conservative republican, I haven’t voted for one in years. I think the party has gone nuts, but by golly, I still is one. You know, a fiscally conservative, socially moderate. Been a member of the California Farm Bureau for over 35 years, so nobody is going to outflank us from the right. I am really proud to say that I am working in the cannabis industry, and I think all of us need to be really proud that we are in the cannabis industry, because you know, we need to be able to put the face of cannabis out as it is today. It’s not like reefer madness, or it’s not like a bunch of Mexicans smoking joints in LA in the 50s. We are the cannabis industry, and if we can’t be proud of the industry we are in, then we shouldn’t be in it. And that’s why it gives me great pride to say that I am working in the medical cannabis and adult use cannabis industry. And like I say, we are the cannabis industry, so we should be real proud of it, and everybody that is in the modern industry should be proud of what we are doing.

Jay: Great. Tell me about your future hopes for Clean Green Certified and the industry as a whole.

Chris (36:05): Well, you know, I am really looking forward to the Clean Green Certified program moving into different states. It’s exciting each time we get a phone call from a news states, I think that’s great. I think that as it becomes federally legal, it will roll largely out of the Clean Green program into the USDA organic program. And I think that will be a welcomed, really great thing for consumers, and I think it will be a welcomed development. But I still think there will be a place for the clean green program, because I am not sure that indoor cannabis will ever be certifiable as organic. Because you know, under the organic regulations, it requires sunlight, and air, and fresh air, and water, and access to outdoors and that kind of stuff. So I think there will always be a place for the Clean Green program, but I am just excited to be in it at this time of such change, and as it develops and moves, we will be adapting and changing with it.

Chris: I sure do appreciate it, and again I want to thank Cannabis Reports very much for allowing me to come in and have this conversation.

Jay: We are thrilled to have you, and again, for everyone watching, this is Chirs Van Hook, the founder of Clean Green Certified, started in 2003 and been accrediting farms for our sake as consumers ever since. Thanks again Chris.

Chris: Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

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