Steep Hill Hawaii Announces ISO Certification For First Licensed Cannabis Testing Lab In Hawaii

HAWAII: Dana Ciccone, CEO of Steep Hill Hawaii, the first state-licensed cannabis testing lab in Hawaii, announced it received ISO/IEC 17025:2005 certification by Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation Inc., an international accrediting agency recognized by governments and industry participants around the world as the standard of excellence for the operation of a quality laboratory management system.

Ciccone said in making the announcement on the achievement of the Certificate of Accreditation, “We are proud not only to be the first cannabis lab to be licensed in the State of Hawaii, but also now the first lab to achieve ISO certification, as well. Industry businesses, medical professionals, state regulators, and patients can be confident that our lab and its testing standards will operate to the highest international standards. This is a turning point for the industry – we have moved very quickly to raise the industry standards in Hawaii to internationally recognized certification. I am very proud of our scientific team’s professionalism and hard work to achieve this certification.”

Steep Hill Hawaii will run full-service testing for cannabinoid profiles (potency), terpenes, pesticides, heavy metals, biological screening, and residual solvents, testing for 17 cannabinoids and 43 terpenes. The company will test for industry businesses and in-state patient cardholders, and it has been structured to provide services to be affordable, with quick turn-around times. Steep Hill Hawaii is a locally owned and operated company.

 

Ethical Cannabis Alliance & Organic Cannabis Association Merge To Form Cannabis Certification Council

Newly Re-Named Cannabis Certification Council Receives Legacy Funding Mandate to Ensure High Labor Standards and Organic integrity for Cannabis Produced and Sold in the United States

OREGON: Ethical Cannabis Alliance and the Organic Cannabis Association, non-profit organizations respectively based in Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado, are merging and adopting a new name; The Cannabis Certification Council (CCC).

The CCC will independently certify cannabis products as Organically Grown and Fairly Produced while servicing the cannabis industry as an independent, non-profit body upholding clear, achievable, robust standards. Certification will be done by conflict-free, third party experts to ensure all certifications maintain full integrity. Internationally recognized leader in the organic and fair-trade movements, Dr. Bronner’s, has committed to provide seed funding and a matching grant to the Council, and their Director of Constructive Capital, Les Szabo, will take an initial board seat.

“The CCC and its mission is a perfect vessel for us to support our values in the cannabis space” said David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling soap brand in the US natural market place. “We are committed to making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest value and we are excited for the Council to begin driving that ethos in the cannabis industry.”

Founding board members include; Laura Rivero of Yerba Buena Farms, Ashley Preece of Ethical Cannabis Alliance, Les Szabo of Dr. Bronner’s, Amy Andrle of L’Eagle Services Denver, Nick Richards of Dill and Dill and Vicente Sederberg and Ben Gelt of Par. Ashley Preece will be the Executive Director of the newly branded organization.

The CCC will be announcing technical committees and stakeholder groups over the summer.

“This is an exciting step for these groups and the cannabis industry” said Ashley Preece, founder of the ECA and incoming Executive Director of the Cannabis Certification Council (CCC). “These two incredible groups coming together reflect the priority of the mission ingrained in both parties and together we will immediately be greater than the sum of our parts.”

Putting Pests in Their Place

By Dr. Richard Freeman, aka Dr. Rick 

By now everybody knows that pests and pesticides are a big problem in the Cannabis industry.  With a grow house full of nitrogen-rich, moist pot plants, the little critters are going to come, by hook or by crook.  And, what’s a farmer to do? The answer depends upon the farmer and the alternatives that are available.

Fortunately, alternative farming systems do exist.  One of these systems is ecological agriculture, a synthesis of practical farming and scientific research that applies ecological patterns to agriculture, eliminating the expensive and harmful chemical addictions that commonly degrade modern farming.

Professor Miguel Altieri, UC Berkeley, represents what ecological agriculture is all about. On one hand, Dr. Altieri and his colleagues have created a lucid, science-based methodology for designing farms based on ecological patterns.  On the other, he has helped apply these methodologies to a range of endeavors, from assisting the global campesino movement in its effort to thrive in a tough environment to helping California grape growers avoid pesticide use.

A prolific researcher and writer, Altieri has written hundreds of books and articles on ecological agriculture, the methodology he’s helped create.  Eco ag is an ingenious approach to harnessing the full complexity of ecology with easy-to-implement practices.  The general goals are simple: build biodiversity and build soil organic matter.  The pay-offs are soil fertility, a natural pest management system, and in general, resilient and sustainable farms.

To build organic matter into the soil, the farmer can choose any combination of beneficial practices.  Adding carbon sources like compost and biochar, avoiding pesticide damage, and carefully choosing diverse plant species known to stimulate soil life are common Eco Ag tactics.

Planting diverse species also supports the goal of boosting biodiversity, and in addition to soil fertility, one of biodiversity’s perks is pest management.  A variety of plants confuses and distracts pests by exuding and emitting a diverse range of volatile plant oils that attract or repel them.  Many of these plants support pest predators, parasitoids and parasites by providing shelter, moisture, and food (nectar, pollen and pests).  The most commonly used tactic for building biodiversity is planting polyculture buffers, corridors, strips and blocks.  Buffers can offer crops protection from wind-borne and migrating pests, while corridors can lead beneficial critters to the target crop or to strips and/or blocks within the crop field.  In these systems, pest species take a small and balanced proportional position among a complex, diverse and abundant ecology, and they play their proper role as food for our hungry beneficials.  Eco Agriculture put pests in their place.

These simple practices are applicable to a wide range of farming scenarios, as Dr. Altieri has demonstrated.  Through his work with Food First! and other organizations, he has helped the global campesino movement adopt and promote ecological agriculture in several developing countries; through the Campesino-to-Campesino project, thousands of farmers are benefitting from and promoting ecological agriculture while forming networks for education and idea-exchange, plant genetics exchange and marketing.  Through his work on California vineyards, Dr. Altieri has helped grape growers replace pesticide use and conserve water with ecological practices in a big-money industry.  These growers are recovering from serious losses and systematic problems caused by conventional practices, while vastly improving the quality of their produce.

Vineyards depend much on the “terroir” of the grapes they produce – the deep, rich taste bestowed by the very land itself.  This revered relationship between ecology and quality is also common to our old friend Cannabis sativaa crop perfectly suited to ecological agriculture.  As the industry expands with the end of prohibition and as the herb emerges as a fungible commodity, margins are shrinking.  As margins shrink, farm resilience and sustainability are taking on more importance.  Fortunately, as these ecological systems mature and take root, their benefits increase, while conventional inputs (and money) disperse into the barren ecosystems they create.  For those looking to farm Cannabis into the future, Professor Altieri has charted the path.