California’s ‘Cannabis Appellation’ Plans Aim to Set It Apart


Ryan Allway

October 16th, 2018

Policy


The cannabis industry is projected to reach $75 billion by 2030, according to Cowen & Co., driven by the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis across a growing number of states. With federal legalization a near-term possibility, the market could soon be dominated by so-called Big Cannabis—likely tobacco companies moving into the space and growing commoditized products leveraging their existing infrastructure.

Some cannabis cultivators aim to protect themselves from these changes by growing high-quality, niche strains. In California, the Mendocino Appellations Project, or MAP, aims to create a way for Mendocino County, Humboldt, and other Emerald Triangle growers to protect their intellectual property. The approach mirrors the strategy that the Champagne appellation has taken to protect French Champagne from copycats.

The state senate passed a bill last year requiring the Department of Food and Agriculture to come up with a process where licensed cultivators could establish appellations of standards, practices, and varietals applicable to cannabis grown in a certain geographic area by 2021. In essence, this paves the way for cannabis to be labeled similar to the wine industry rather than being sold as a commodity—like a mass market beer.

The science behind craft cannabis is still catching up after years of prohibition, but there are early signs that the same strain of cannabis could have different attributes depending on the climate and other growing conditions. With California’s diverse micro-climates, this presents a unique opportunity for craft cannabis growers that desire wine-like margins rather than razor-thin mass-market margins that Big Cannabis will likely seek.

Cannabis companies (and investors) looking to navigate the increasingly complex market in California may want to consider attending NCIA’s California Cannabis Business Conference 2018 in Anaheim, CA between October 22 and 23, 2018. The conference features more than 100 thought leaders and policy experts, 3,000 cannabis business leaders, and 60,000 sq. ft. of expo floor where exhibitors will inform and educate.

At the conference, cannabis executives can learn everything from packaging best practices to craft cannabis to environmentally-sustainable production.

NCIA is also putting on the NCIA’s 6th Annual Cannabis Business Summit® & Expo 2019 in San Jose, CA on July 22 24, 2018.

Ryan Allway

About Ryan Allway

Mr. Allway has over a decade of experience in the financial markets as both a private investor and financial journalist. He has been actively involved in the cannabis industry since its inception, covering public and private companies.


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