Letter to CalCannabis Comparable Organic Working Group opposing the certification of hydroponically produced Cannabis

On behalf of the Organic Farmers Association we submitted this letter to CalCannabis Comparable Organic Working Group because we are concerned of  the consideration of hydroponically produced Cannabis.

The Organic Farmers Association has been following the state’s work preparing organic standards for the certification of marijuana intended for adult use with standards similar to those of the National Organic Program. If the state decides to create an “organic” brand for marijuana, we encourage you to align your Program with the National Organic Program. And, require an inclusion of soil- based production that focuses on soil health.

The Organic Farmers Association is a national organization representing certified organic farmers nationwide; our policy is developed by certified organic producers. Our mission is to promote policies that encourage more organic production and producers.
California serves in a leadership regional role within the Organic Farmers Association structure and California organic farmer voters have an important voice in our national work. California organic farmers have weighted in and voted together with organic farmers from the rest of the nation to keep organic production in the soil.

Our members believe that soil is essential to the principles and foundation of organic agriculture and worked to write that requirement into the Organic Food Production Act. That law requires a producer’s Organic Plan to increase soil fertility by managing its organic content. Our members also understand that by increasing organic matter (carbon) organic farmers enhance the soil’s ability to absorb water, reducing the impacts of drought and flooding. Improving soil organic matter also helps it to absorb and store carbon and other nutrients need to grow healthy crops, which, in turn, are better able to resist insects and diseases.
In 2010, the National Organic Standards Board recognized the importance of the organic matter by including in its formal recommendation to USDA,” The reason this is the central theme and foundation of organic farming is not inherent to the organic matter itself, but is based on the importance to the living organisms that inhabit soils, particularly for its positive influence on proliferation of diverse populations of organisms that interact in a beneficial way with plant roots. These microscopic organisms, found in abundance in well maintained soils, interact in a symbiotic manner with plant roots, producing the effect of strengthening the plant to be able to better resist or avoid insect, disease and nematode attack, as well as assisting the plant in water and mineral uptake.”

We encourage the California state agency to create an “organic” brand for marijuana that aligns with the National Organic Program, and that requires inclusion of healthy soil in its production standards.


David Colson

President, Organic Farmers Association