Ruby Farms’ USDA Certified Organic Hemp — A Look Inside an Historic Moment.
Sea changes aren’t supposed to happen. The idiom speaks to the magnitude and seeming impossibility of a desired result. But sometimes there is a change in culture, an organic change, that brings about a seismic shift in opinions and previously unknown opportunities.
Ruby Farms is proud to be one of the very first farms in America to receive USDA organic certification for farming hemp.
This is a huge moment for Ruby Farms, the industry as a whole, and the plants that we love. Ruby Farms cultivates the finest cannabis crops with unmatched passion and perfection. To be among those leading the charge and breaking new ground is a thrill and a responsibility we take seriously.
So, let’s take an in-depth look at what it truly means for Ruby Farms’ hemp to be certified organic by the USDA, and why it’s so important on a larger political and cultural level.
The Curious Case of the Cannabis Plant:
This is a story about change. Change brought about by enlightenment and understanding. And though the story is still being written, it’s starting strong.
Cannabis has a long history of being misunderstood and vilified. Its illegality has caused confusion for decades. To this day there is still debate and misunderstanding over the words cannabis, hemp, and marijuana.
We’re going to break down those words for you to get a handle on the larger picture. And to help demonstrate the progress that has been made.
Cannabis is a genus of plant that accounts for Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
Hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of Cannabis sativa that holds many utilitarian qualities.
Marijuana is a historically, politically, and culturally complex word. It is used both colloquially and officially to refer to the psychoactive varieties of cannabis.
NPR addresses the word’s unique origins in America:
Marijuana has been intertwined with race and ethnicity in America since well before the word “marijuana” was coined… Throughout the 19th century, news reports and medical journal articles almost always use the plant’s formal name, cannabis. Numerous accounts say that “marijuana” came into popular usage in the U.S. in the early 20th century because anti-cannabis factions wanted to underscore the drug’s “Mexican-ness.” It was meant to play off of anti-immigrant sentiments.
It is commonly held that the word became prevalent in America due to the “Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.” And though Mexico’s own cannabis prohibition started in 1920, 17 years before America began its smear campaign, many modern critics see the American adoption of the word “marijuana” as politically and racially charged propaganda.
That said, marijuana is a word commonly used by many who love the plant with a profound passion.
Alongside advocates who colloquially use the word, the USDA, FDA, and DEA still recognize the word “marijuana” as legitimately referencing the psychoactive varieties of cannabis.
The USDA, arguably, has the most liberal and sensitive approach to the word marijuana. The USDA’s search function only yields results for the word “marijuana” when the user searches the database of “common names” and not “scientific names.”
The FDA’s document, “FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)” references “’Marihuana’ (commonly referred to as ‘marijuana’)” as being listed in Schedule I of the CSA (Controlled Substances Act). This FDA document also defines hemp as being a variety of cannabis with no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. The FDA’s statement addresses hemp’s recent removal from the CSA.
As we can see it’s been a long strange trip for cannabis. Indeed, America’s misunderstanding of the plant had resulted in hemp’s guilt-by-association with psychoactive cannabis.
In fact, the DEA still does little to differentiate “marijuana” from “cannabis” as a whole. As we can see, the DEA only defines cannabis as marijuana, “a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug.”
This speaks to the still murky understanding of this nuanced topic. But clarity has started to cut through the haze.
In 2016 the DEA released a statement addressing Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014. It is worth noting this was released before the FDA’s document referenced above. The DEA states Section 7606 “outlines the legalized growing and cultivating of industrial hemp for research purposes under certain conditions, such as in states where growth and cultivation are legal under state law. The 2014 Act did not remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances.”
But that would change when The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 ushered in the age of federally legal hemp.
From Schedule I to Certified Organic:
And so, the sea began to change. And it turned a shade of emerald green.
In 2018 we saw The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 come into being. The USDA released a document titled “Instruction – Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp Production” which states:
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill), Subtitle G—Hemp Production, directed USDA to establish a national regulatory framework for hemp production in the United States… For hemp produced in the United States, only hemp produced in accordance with the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and/or the 2014 Farm Bill may be certified as organic, if produced in accordance with USDA organic regulations.
The ripple effects of this historic moment were and still are undeniable. On August, 26th 2019 the DEA issued a press release addressing The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. This saw the DEA recognizing hemp as no longer part of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The importance of this cannot be understated. Hemp, a cannabis plant, is now not only federally legal it is also able to be certified organic by the USDA.
That is, providing farms are up to the USDA’s exceptional standards.
The Freedom to Farm the Healing Herb:
Passion, perfection, and perseverance pays off. Ruby Farms’ commitment to high quality and honest farming has earned us a place in history.
As previously stated, the USDA has high standards for organic certification. Being certified organic means plants are grown and processed following federally defined guidelines that account for soil quality, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Certified organic produce needs to be grown in soil “that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest.” Additionally, farms must undergo regular inspection to ensure adherence to USDA National Organic Program standards.
Ruby Farms is a farm to table hemp and cannabis company. We have a profound pride in what we do, the products we offer, and the charge we are helping to lead. USDA organic certification for Ruby Farms’ hemp and hemp products isn’t merely a victory for us, it is powerful and positive part of a revolutionary moment in time. A moment that is helping to progress the conversation around the cannabis plant as a whole.
We are honored and proud to hold this distinction. We are privileged to be part of this moment in history. And we are so excited to continue to bring you plant-based organic remedies with a purpose: connecting mind, body, and spirit.