From JOSH HARKINSON
In 2004, California organic farm inspector Chris Van Hook submitted an unusual request to the US Department of Agriculture: He wanted permission to certify a medical marijuana farm as organic. He’d already inspected three pot farms, he says, before word came back that weed couldn’t be organic because it wasn’t a federally recognized crop.
So Van Hook founded Clean Green, a certification program for medical marijuana farmers that’s nearly identical to the USDA’s organics program—except that it can’t legally use the term “organic.” Since launching in 2004, Clean Green has certified 80 medical marijuana growers who last year produced 8,000 pounds of cannabis valued at as much as $33 million. It’s the only inspection service aimed at pot smokers who want their ganja to be farmed as safely and ethically as their organic salad greens.