(Updated 7/23/20)

This spring, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released draft regulations for the cannabis appellation of origin program in the State. These regulations are groundbreaking as they pave the way for the first appellations of origin for cannabis in the world. Appellation of origin is an intellectual property right related to a geographic indication that signifies  both the location where the goods originated and the standards that define the characteristics of the goods, from both manmade and natural factors related, which are unique to the geographic region.  

Up until the creation of the CDFA regulations, appellation of origin protection has only been available in the United States to protect viticulture areas, whereas international appellation of origin protection has been applied to a variety of goods through international treaties.

INCBA’s Appellation Committee, comprised of co-chairs Luke Zimmerman and Anne Kelson and Rebecca Stamey-White, Heather Burke, Dale Schafer, Omar Figueroa, Shay Gilmore, and Mary Shapiro, reviewed the draft regulations and prepared a public comment. INCBA also presented a symposium on cannabis appellations, The Path to Cannabis Appellations. This coming Friday, on July 24, INCBA will be hosting an online conference, INCBA Regulatory Rounds, which will include a one hour panel on cannabis appellations featuring subject matter experts who have greatly contributed to development of this important and emergent framework.

In a recent development,  Senator Mike McGuire and Assembly Jim Wood introduced Senate Bill 67 to limit appellation of origin protections to cannabis “planted in the ground, in open air, with no artificial light during the flowering stage of cultivation until harvest”.  The Origins Council, International Cannabis Farmers Association, INCBA and other organizations have endorsed the bill and look forward to the development of the proposed baseline standard.

INCBA eagerly awaits the CDFA’s response to public comment on the appellation regulations. The INCBA and the Appellations Committee will be providing further resources and information as the draft regulations, legislation and other developments progress.