The founder of Forever Flowering Greenhouses, illuminates the philosophy underlying his newest project, The Cannabis Conservancy.
When a consumer walks into a dispensary in today’s regulated cannabis market, lack of information about products makes caveat emptor a reality. Whether the business offers medical or adult-use products, consumers must rely on the personal knowledge of the budtender. Uneducated newcomers may be unaware of or confused by product recalls and other issues related to commercial agriculture and product certification. Still in its infancy, the cannabis industry has yet to grow into a responsible model of what is possible.
Enter The Cannabis Conservancy (TCC) and a new era for cannabis consumers—an era of awareness, transparency, integrity, and the ability to make educated choices. The certification process was designed specifically for the cannabis industry and departs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s certification program in important ways.
Why not use a preexisting model for food and cross it over into cannabis? Because nobody is going to incinerate a tomato or concentrate a cucumber. Much of the cannabis grown today is destined for medical users, and it is crucial not to provide tainted medicine to someone with a compromised immune system. Since the industry doesn’t want to create medical users from recreational users who consume unsafe products, industry-wide standards and certification are of the utmost importance.
Currently, many product labels list only the results of lab tests for THC and CBD, perhaps along with a statement noting the product has “passed” some kind of evaluation for levels of potentially harmful particulates. TCC’s certification program goes beyond ensuring plants are free of harmful chemical residues, also taking into consideration sustainable operating procedures like energy use, water use, and disposal of solids and wastewater before tendering a holistic seal of approval.
Prior to TCC, no unified system existed to inform consumers about product producers’ farming practices and values, nor was there a platform for farmers to “tell their stories” and explain how their products differ from others. TCC is creating a standard for stewardship through science and promoting consistent product labeling in order to increase consumer knowledge, thereby driving the integrity, safety, and future of the industry.