Legally, marijuana cannot be called organic — no matter how environmentally friendly the cultivation practices used to grow it — because the term is federally regulated and the USDA does not recognize cannabis as a legitimate agricultural crop. The Clean Green Certified program was created in 2004 as a way to regulate legal cannabis-products that called themselves "organic." Consumers can rest assured when they buy a Clean Green Certified cannabis product that it has met all of the requirements of the rigorous program.
Modeled on national and international sustainability, organic and biodynamic program standards, the Clean Green program requires on-site inspections and third-party lab testing. Much like third party certifications for traditional agricultural products, the whole life cycle of the plant is considered, from seed selection to harvesting and processing. In addition, soil, nutrients, pesticide use, mold treatment and dust control are analyzed. Clean Green Certified also goes further than the USDA organic in some areas, requiring every operator to undergo pesticide testing every year, rather than only a small percentage of farms. Additionally, each cannabis operation must put into place a carbon footprint reduction plan, water conservation measures and fair labor practices.
Clean Green Certified has a certification specifically for cannabis processor/handlers. Whether it be a store-front or a cannabis concentrate company, certification audits the processor/handler's ability to keep Clean Green cannabis separate from cannabis grown conventionally. A consumer can have greater confidence when buying cannabis or a cannabis product from a Clean Green Certified outlet that it was grown fair-trade and sustainably, without the use of synthetic pesticides.