Authorities Won't Let Mendocino County Designate Pot As Organic Crop

March 02, 2005


UKIAH, Calif. -- State officials have told Mendocino County agriculture administrators they can't certify medical marijuana as organic.

However, another state agency said it's probably OK for the county to advise medical marijuana growers about pesticide use.

Mendocino County Agricultural Commissioner Dave Bengston asked state regulators if his office could certify the crop and regulate it to protect consumers from dangerous pesticides.

'This department and you as our agent do not certify, register, etc., illegal activities. Either growing or sale of marijuana violates federal law (even the growth of one marijuana plant) and that is a federal issue not one within the purview of this department or you,' John Dyer, chief counsel to the state Agriculture Department, wrote in a Feb. 28 letter to the county.

California voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 1996. However, federal authorities maintain all uses of the drug are illegal and application of California's law has been uneven

The state Department of Pesticide Regulation, also contacted by Mendocino County, said it was probably legal for the office to advise individual medical pot growers on pesticide use.

The department urged county officials not to advise cannabis clubs, which sell medical marijuana.

Tony Linegar, the county's assistant agricultural commissioner, said state regulators confirmed there are no pesticides that can be legally used on marijuana.

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