Maine’s ‘Clean’ Medical Marijuana: ‘Organic’ in Disguise

Article by Murray Carpenter, The New York Times


In a suite one flight above the bustling main street of Farmington, a university town in the foothills of western Maine,LoveGrown Caregiver Services is a marijuana lover’s delight.

Large glass jars contain potent buds called Blue Cheese and Headband, with high-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Another jar holds an aromatic strain of Critical Mass that is rich in cannabidiol, which has therapeutic effects but has relatively little THC and will not make users feel stoned. The business owner, Erica Haywood, grew it all.

Maine is one of 25 states, plus the District of Columbia, that permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes. It is a competitive market with thousands of growers, known as caregivers under state law.

But Ms. Haywood now claims a distinction that sets her apart. She is among the first five farmers whose weed is labeled Certified Clean Cannabis by theMaine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Branded MC3, the marijuana is grown following organic standards, but it cannot be labeled “organic” under federal guidelines.

Ms. Haywood hopes the certification will help her stay nimble in a fast-changing industry. “From a business standpoint, I felt like putting a label on my product from a certifying agency would set me apart and above the rest of the caregivers who are moving in and becoming competition,” she said.

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