CARCD and Emerald Grown announce kick-off event for new sustainable cannabis certification

For immediate release: March 31, 2020


The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts and Emerald Grown announce kick-off event for new sustainable cannabis certification

Sacramento—The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) and Emerald Grown kicked-off the first Advisory Panel meeting of the Growing Responsible and Socially Sustainable Cannabis (GRASS-C) certification. GRASS-C will be a tiered market-incentive certification program for environmentally responsible cannabis production in California. Growers are encouraged to reach out to the following RCDs leading the certification efforts: Upper Salinas-Las Tablas RCD, Coastal San Luis RCD, Cachuma RCD, Mendocino RCD and Trinity County RCD.

Cannabis can be a highly resource-intensive crop, which has the potential to severely impact surrounding ecosystems if growers do not follow best management practices. However, there are few resources for growers who are interested in designing their operations with the environment in mind. There are even fewer ways for growers to receive recognition for running environmentally responsible operations. GRASS-C would connect growers with local resource conservation professionals who would help them design environmentally responsible operations and award a third party certification recognized by consumers, regulatory agencies, and the public.

A key component of this year’s program is the establishment of a grower-based Advisory Panel which will help shape the certification. The kick-off meeting for the Advisory Panel was on March 23 by webinar and included an overview of GRASS-C and gave an opportunity for growers to give comments. This and future quarterly meetings are open to the public, and the GRASS-C team strongly encourages all licensed cannabis cultivators to participate. Tickets to future web meetings, currently scheduled for June 22 and Augusts 24, will be available via Eventbrite.

The Advisory Panel is made up of 11 leaders in licensed cannabis cultivation around the state–from San Luis Obispo County to Humboldt County, and east to Nevada County.

Sara Letton, CARCD’s project coordinator, notes that “This year, CARCD will focus on raising awareness about the benefits of the GRASS-C certification. We will also continue to engage relevant state agencies in dialog about how so many growers are excellent stewards of our precious natural resources and can help meet the state’s resource management goals.“

Emerald Grown is a member-owned mutual benefit corporation composed of cannabis cooperatives and growers working together to ensure the emerging global cannabis market reflects the grower’s aspirations and values. Hezekiah Allen, Emerald Grown’s Chairperson, commented on the potential for GRASS-C to help growers in multiple ways: “One of the most exciting aspects about the GRASS-C certification is a new opportunity to integrate it into the regulatory process, streamlining the permitting and licensing process to make it easier for growers to comply. If resource conservation goals are being met there is no need to burden cultivators with unnecessary regulatory and compliance tasks.”

Resource Conservation Districts are the only established, publicly accountable technical assistance providers able to work with newly legalized cannabis farmers in California. With generous support from the the Land-Sea Connection program of the Resources Legacy Fund, made possible by the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, the GRASS-C program will harness partnerships, grower knowledge, and conservation expertise to set a new standard for environmentally responsible cannabis production.