Medical marijuana patients and even recreational users are increasingly on the lookout for organic cannabis, preferably grown without the use of pesticides. What’s the driving force behind these cautious cannabis consumers? And how is the industry responding?
For consumers, especially the sick, it simply doesn’t make sense to consume a product soaked in a bunch of random, toxic chemicals. Talk to a chemist, and they’ll point you to the large amount of pesticides capable of being transferred when partaking of pot via inhalation. PhD Jeffrey Raber, chemist and leading California cannabis scientist, pointed to the consumption of pesticide-laced products as much like injecting the toxins directly into the bloodstream, noting the difference between eating pesticide-laced products and inhaling them. He further pointed out that cannabis can’t be cleaned or rinsed before consuming (like an apple), and filters within the body for handling eaten toxins (a non-absorptive stomach lining, liver and kidneys) aren’t there for the inhaled variety. Bringing the point home is another chilling fact: In the U.S., where many ‘approved’ pesticides are already suspect, there are no regulations concerning what is sprayed over marijuana crops.
According to a recent chart published by Marijuana Business Daily (MBD), cannabis cultivators are taking to the trend, responding to customer concerns. There is money to be made in responding to this demand, and cultivators aren’t taking the task lightly. What portion of product grown by wholesale cultivators is solely organic product? 59% according to the MBD chart, with 17% producing more than half of their product as organic, and 8% expected to add to their organic cultivation. Already a huge segment of the market, the trend is expected to continue its fast ascent – and investors should pay attention.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of USDA certification standards for marijuana, there are likely to be a few less-than-honorable growers attempting to pass off inferior product as organic. However those that do it right have the potential to become the ‘Whole Foods’ of pot over the coming years, producing product that, much like the wine cultivators in the region, could uphold a locally or even nationally-recognized reputation.