California Proposes Regulations for Appellations of Origin for Cannabis

Los Angeles marijuana tax lawyerRegulations were proposed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) last month, suggesting that appellations of origin are established for cannabis. As such, February 20 marked the beginning of the 45-day period required by Californian law, where the public can submit any comments it may have on the matter. The CDFA has continued to welcome and encourage all interested to submit their thoughts. The deadline to do so is April 6, 2020.

Background
Under Section 26063 of the Business and Professions Code, The Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), requires that the CDFA Cultivation Licensing Division, also known as CalCannabis:

  • Forms standards that allow licensed cannabis growers to elect a county of origin for their cannabis; and
  • Establishes a process that licensed cannabis growers can use to establish appellations.

The department has until January 1, 2021 to form the process of appellations of origin. In order to meet this statutory obligation and to fulfill MAUCRSA mandated responsibilities, the department has created what is now know as, the Cannabis Appellations Program (CAP).

Back in 2018, to kick start the gathering of input and feedback from industry stakeholders, the CDFA hosted six public participation sessions right across the state. During each session, the members of the public were given time to contribute their thoughts. And as CAP has continued to develop, the department has also kept lines open with industry experts and associates, throughout.

What is an appellation of origin?
An appellation of origin is a description that both distinguishes and protects the place in which a product originated, as well as the process by which that product was made.

There are two major aims of the CDFA’s Cannabis Appellations Program:

  • To promote cannabis products and local businesses within a particular region; and
  • To improve overall consumer confidence, achieved via offering assurances related to a cannabis’ specific traits, quality and place of origin.

Once complete, the process should clearly outline all practices, standards and specific cannabis varieties produced by selective breeding in select areas of California.

What changes are being proposed?
Within Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations, the CDFA has suggested the state amends Chapter 1 and adopts Chapter 2. These changes aim to establish a protocol for creating cannabis appellations of origin, as well as add clarity for cultivators on how they can use the county of origin to help promote their products.

Our Orange County marijuana business lawyers also encourage anyone within the cannabis community to share their comments on the proposed regulations. They can do so either:

  • Via email to CDFA.CalCannabis_Appellations@cdfa.ca.gov;
  • Verbally or in writing during the public hearing Tuesday, April14, 2020 from 1-3pm at 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA, in the CDFA Auditorium; or
  • By mail to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Attn: Kristi Armstrong, CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, Proposed Appellations Regulations, P.O. Box 942871, Sacramento, CA, 94271.

Implications
Following concern surrounding product safety that emerged amid the vaping crisis last summer, consumers have rightfully become increasingly concerned about product quality. By establishing a process within the system that clearly signals to consumers where cannabis is grown, and how it was cultivated in any one particular area, will certainly bring an added level of consumer confidence. Initiatives such as these are big positives for licensed cannabis growers and sellers across the board.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
The Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act

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