California Releases Proposed Regulations For Comparable-To-Organic Cannabis Certification

The legalization of domestic hemp production through the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill marked a significant change in the course of cannabis policy within the federal government of the United States.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines hemp as cannabis that contains 0.5 percent or less of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

After more than eighty years of cannabis prohibition, the Farm Bill’s passage signaled that the U.S. government was finally starting to reverse decades-old policies that have harmed countless lives, unnecessarily burdened the country’s legal systems, and cost billions of dollars in enforcement.

In 2019, USDA released instructions regarding the organic certification of industrial hemp production, but due to marijuana’s designation as a Schedule I narcotic, the guidelines did not apply to producers of THC-rich cannabis products in legal states.

California has a proposed solution for in-state cannabis producers who want to go the certified-organic route with their business.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on Thursday, April 30 announced the release of 66 pages of proposed regulations for a statewide certification program known as OCal.

OCal would establish and enforce comparable-to-organic cannabis production regulations in California.

According to CDFA, products that bear the OCal seal will have been certified using standards that are comparable to the regulatory framework of USDA’s National Organic Program.

Under the proposed rules, certifications would be valid for one year, with renewal due by January 2 of the following year.

With the release of the proposed regulations, a two-month public comment period has begun.

To assist the public, CDFA has released a “How to Submit Your Comments” guide with suggestions on how to make effective comments and where to send them.

Anyone wanting to submit comments about the proposed regulations must submit them by the deadline on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

The OCal Program is slated to begin by January 1, 2021.