Vermont Marijuana: State Has Tips For Growing ‘Beyond Organic’ Weed

Photo Credit: Anthony Bolante

Those looking for guidance on growing pot after that becomes legal on July 1 may want to turn to the Vermont Department of Agriculture’s guidelines for medical marijuana.

Those regulations aim to make Vermont-grown marijuana the greenest in the nation.

“I wouldn’t call it organic, because you have a lot more options if you are organic. So it’s beyond organic,” Cary Giguere said on Monday of Vermont’s only currently legal cannabis crop: medical marijuana grown by dispensaries.

Home-grown marijuana won’t be subject to rules on how it’s grown, other than the limit on the number of plants a grower can have in a home or apartment and where it can be grown. But the state has ideas on what makes for a good crop.

Giguere, who has degrees in chemistry, botany and environmental science, is the director of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s resource management division. He helps make the rules that regulate the chemicals and farming methods used to grow Vermont’s produce, including medical marijuana.

Giguere has a sustainable ecological vision for a quality Vermont cannabis product,  including any commercial crops should a regulated recreation market become a reality, that would set apart weed grown here from that grown in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Some might call it a farming method that would sustain Vermont’s marijuana “terroir,” or soil composition.

Under Giguere, Vermont’s medical marijuana dispensaries follow strict rules. Growers train to use beneficial protagonist fungi and insects to promote plant growth and control pests.

“There’s a lot of manual labor,” Giguere said describing the biological control method which keeps farms small scale and the need for industrial tools at bay — so far.

Weed grown in other states can contain residuals, leftover from the use pesticides, according to Giguere. Residuals are the chemicals left behind on crops after the pesticide serves its use controlling pests.

Giguere said Vermont’s experts in horticulture and greenhouse management are well versed in designing eco-friendly crop systems.