Cannabis Appellations in CA

Gov Newsom signed into law an appellation rule for cannabis. Appellation refers to a particular area where a crop is grown; it protects the growers against fakers relying on the reputation of the protected growers. The laws are legally quite strong.

“Champagne” is the classic example of a protected appellation. Napa Valley and Sonoma County are appellations for CA wines. Now the cannabis growers can rely on the same protections the grape growers have.

You can expect to see (you already do) the appellation for county of origin (Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, etc), but each county has a surprising number of mini-climates that will be used as appellations. There’s the coastline that is wet and at elevation, followed by valleys and then another run up with plenty of rain and fog. Cannabis is a plant that is flexible enough to take advantage of all these different climates. There is no better place to grow cannabis in the world because of these characteristics. Hence, the appellation has considerable market value.

An odd thing about the law is that indoor growers can use the appropriate appellation that applies to them. Indoor growers have, theoretically, complete control over their growing climate, and can exactly match a particular growing environment anywhere, no matter where they might be. Like New Jersey. Appellations can be applied to indoor grows, but only if 100% of the product comes from that appellation, protecting the grower from the NJ indoor grower that is simulating the environment in California.

Aficionados will be happy about this, a more average consumer likely won’t care much. Think about the wine selection at the grocery store: Some do buy based on appellation, but most don’t. I am pleased with this because I always buy ag products based on the locale where I am. For any farm product I always go for the closest grower as I can, and the smaller the better. I want something I know was grown by a real farmer with a family, not a mega-corporation.

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