Federal regulators have given their seal of approval to a strain of organic hemp, currently being grown by a cannabis farm in Longmont, Colorado.
The farm, called CBDRx, obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) a certification to market its goods with the USDA’s organic seal.
“We at CBDRx decided to challenge the norm and request USDA certification for our hemp,”
said Tim Gordon, a research team member of CBDRx. “And through some true passionate efforts we succeeded.”
There still exists a great deal of ambiguity around the endorsement, however. While the development represents a coup for proponents of expanded cannabis sale and distribution, it also presents legal uncertainty: The product being sold is hemp, which is defined as cannabis by federal law.
Yet the Farm Bill passed by Congress in 2014 regards some forms of cannabis — also known as “hemp” — that fall below a certain level of the psychoactive cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as legitimate and recognized crops.
This course of action causes legal friction since the Controlled Substances Act labels “cannabis” —and all of its colloquialisms— illegal. The Farm Act, while acknowledging this discrepancy, gave researchers and state departments the green light to research the product further.
“As long as the industrial hemp is grown according to the Farm Bill, it can be certified organic to the USDA National Organic Program,”
wrote Penelope Zuck, the manager of the USDA’s organic program accreditation.