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The CULTA Blog

What is Clean Green Certification?

clean green certification

Clean Green Certification is a special certification for cannabis companies that can demonstrate that their crops are sustainably and organically grown. Unlike other crops, the federal government doesn’t recognize cannabis production or consumption as legal. While fruits and veggies grown in certain conditions can earn organic certification from the USDA, there was no equivalent for cannabis -- until 2004, when the Clean Green Certified Program was developed. 

In the cannabis world, earning the highly coveted Clean Green Certified designation is the closest thing to “organic” that cannabis can get. If you’re curious about the designation, how to earn it, and what the process entails, read on for our wholesaler’s guide to Clean Green Certification.

First, Some History….

The program was developed by Chris Hook, a former attorney who worked in the USDA national organic program. While working for the program, he noticed the need for a similar regulatory program in the cannabis industry and founded the Clean Green Certified program. 

It’s the longest-running cannabis certification program in the world and the largest in the United States. He recently developed a sister certification, Clean Green Certified Vegan, which is reserved for growers who exclusively use vegan growing processes. Since 2006, the program has also offered licensing programs for products, equipment, and services in the cannabis industry. 

Why Get Certified

Let’s face it -- consumers can be discerning, and with the health scares arising from toxic additives in cannabis, particularly in vapes, many customers want to confirm the quality of their cannabis and the impact on the environment. The Clean Green Certified designation not only provides consumers with peace of mind about how cannabis was grown, but it enables cannabis manufacturers and dispensaries with the designation to stand out from the crowd. And, with the cannabis industry growing at an unprecedented rate in Maryland, anything a cannabis company can do to help differentiate them from competitors is worth investing in. 

Plus, when full federal legalization finally comes, Clean Green will likely be adopted nationwide as an ethical, organic way to grow and cultivate recreational cannabis. 

Culta x CGC

What’s the Process Like?

Like any certification program, achieving Clean Green Certified status is a rigorous process, and it doesn’t come easy. The process includes the completion of an application and an intensive operation inspection. The Clean Green Certified label is reserved for top cannabis processors who meet a myriad of strict requirements, focusing on three requirements: legal compliance, cultivation methods, and an agricultural inspection. So you know what to expect, we’ve highlighted each of the requirements below.

Legal compliance

The Clean Green Certified® program ensures their farmers and processors are legally compliant in the state in which they operate. This first requirement involves a thorough review of your record-keeping system and exercises that will help prove your ability to keep track of Clean Green cannabis and protect it from contamination. This certification is valid for one year from the date your certificate was issued. 

Cultivation methods 

All certified farmers must use natural pesticides and pest control methods, which are maintained under organically based regulations. During this second phase, you will need to fill out an application that details how your cannabis crop is grown. Questions address topics such as source of water and electricity, soil erosion protection, border areas, and methods of pest/weed/disease control. Once the application is completed, a crop inspection is scheduled. 

Agricultural inspection 

Once you’ve met the first two requirements, samples of your crop are collected and sent to qualified third-party labs to test for pesticide residue and other contaminants. Your growing area will be inspected for soil erosion and border areas that support beneficial insects and birds, and they’ll take an in-depth look at your processing room. Since crop contamination is most likely to occur during processing, they’ll make sure your processing facility is clean and that your cannabis is stored in a safe and healthy way once it’s been processed. 

You can learn more about the certification process here.

Join CULTA & Get Clean Green Certified

At CULTA, we care about producing a high-quality product that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals and is grown ethically and sustainably. We’re proud to say that we’re approaching three years as a Clean Green Certified company, and all of the outdoor-grown cannabis grown at our Cambridge farm is Clean Green Certified. In fact, we were the first organically managed farm in Maryland to achieve the highly coveted certification. 

We urge you to join us as we strive to produce the very best cannabis possible. Request an application today!