Legal recreational cannabis sales kicked off in California on January 1st, 2018. However, the state has been aware that small-batch, craft cannabis growers have sought to establish Californian cannabis appellations for their crops well before legalization happened.
What is an Appellation of Origin?
Appellation comes from the French verb, ‘appeller’, to name. An Appellation of Origin (AO) is a very special internationally recognized name. It’s a designation within the larger Geographical Indication system that’s used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Think Champagne.
The celebrated sparkling wine of the Champagne region of France is the most commonly recognized international product we all know by its unique high… and it’s AO. Others you may already enjoy at your table include Bordeaux wine, Mexican Tequila and Roquefort cheese.
These distinct, high-quality products have been awarded AO designations because they passed rigorous tests and had those tests verified. By doing so they proved that their superior qualitative characteristics are a result exclusively of their place — their origin. Place is shaped by the region’s unique environmental factors, cultural heritage, production practices and resulting legacy of regional crop varietals.
Are you starting to think Humboldt, Mendocino, The Emerald Triangle? Exactly.
Why Do Californian Cannabis Appellations Matter for Craft Farmers?
Some 25,000 people attended MJBiz Con in Las Vegas this November, the biggest cannabis business conference in the United States. Across the country, large-scale farms are being financed and positioned for the anticipated global cannabis commodities market. Meanwhile, heritage and craft cannabis farmers in California are struggling to stay afloat amid complicated and ever-changing state regulations, while limited to an under-developed legal local consumer base.
Internationally, there have been cannabis production regions within China, Morocco, India, Nepal and Pakistan for centuries, where regulations are yet to be implemented giving these legacy farmers access to a legal market.
What can small, traditional farms around the world do to compete?
Appellations are an international means to differentiate products and have the potential to create a path forward for traditional, legacy, craft cannabis farmers — if they can hold on long enough for the market to support them. And many of them cannot.
Small farmers are selling their farms, giving up on cannabis as a crop, losing their farms to the bank, and to unscrupulous investors. At the beginning of 2018, California Growers Association estimated there were there were 68,000 cannabis farms in California. Humboldt County officials estimated between 6,000 and 15,000 thousand grows throughout the county. As of October, the state had only issued some 5000 temporary cultivation licenses and by November, only seven full licenses.
So in five years, will even a quarter of the Humboldt farmers still be cultivating? Probably not.
For those family farmers who can make it through on their own, in co-ops or with the help of investors with integrity, the positive outlook is that the looming commodities market and the craft market compliment each other. For example, commodity cannabis fuels affordable products for general consumption, filling the seemingly endless demand for vape pen oils that largely taste the same. Craft cannabis aims for the unique quality niche, for the connoisseur consumer who appreciates and will pay for the unique traits that result because of place, person and process.
Who’s Working on It?
It’s the connoisseur consumer in whom Genine Coleman, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Mendocino Appellations Project (MAPS), has faith.
“Cannabis at its best is an expression of place,” said Coleman. “It’s an annual adaptogen, that responds greatly to its environment, to the soil, water, sunlight, farmers and their techniques. Together these factors create what the French have termed ‘terroire’. Appellations will allow us to unlock how to potentiate the unique and alluring traits of cannabis. We’re on a very mysterious and sensual journey.”
Coleman comes with an extensive marketing background including working for Whole Foods during their climb to great success in the late 90s into the 2000s. “Whole Foods succeeded because they made decisions based on what the consumer wanted,” said Coleman with confidence.
Cannabis consumers are expected to be the same, once they are educated about their options. Currently, many self-described, but as of yet uneducated, foodies are smoking hydroponic cannabis grown in warehouses in the desert, fed with standardized, bottled fertilizers. Given the option, many of them would opt for sun-grown, family farm raised products, with the richest terpene profiles, and a story of place.
Education is key.
Coleman has co-led the MAPs team in coalition building and educating over the last 18 months, collaborating with local and global strategic partners developing proposals for environmental, botanical and social research in the coming year, and educating and developing public policy. Because cannabis has been effectively illegal for 80 plus years, gathering data and educating the global community are essential to support the shift to an international market with a place for craft farmers.
Most recently, MAP was a member of the coalition which submitted a paper to the World Health Organization (by invitation) called “The Importance of Appellations of Origin to the Successful Therapeutic Model of Whole Plant Cannabis.” The 41st Expert Committee on Drug Dependence reviewed it in November and will be offering recommendations based on their findings to the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs, possibly pushing forward a positive change in the scheduling status of cannabis within international conventions.
In 2017 California passed a law mandating that the California Department of Food and Agriculture develop a geographic indication system for cannabis, including Appellation of Origin designation to be implemented by 2021. CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division is in the process of research, soliciting stakeholder input and scoping the regulatory and programmatic frameworks for the CalCannabis Appellations Project. They have much to accomplish in the next two years.
What’s an Aficionado to Do?
Today’s cannabis aficionados are proud to be on the cutting edge of this mysterious and sensual journey with cannabis herself and the farmers who bring out her best traits. They are the connoisseurs that seek out and appreciate quality, thereby fueling the existing and future craft market.
Pick a small farm or coop who’s cannabis you admire and get to know them. Look them up on Instagram, follow them, ask for and purchase their products, give them as gifts, tell your friends, send a love note. Indulge in the terpene-rich, unique strains from the small farmers you want to see thrive in the coming international cannabis market.
To give them a chance to make it there.
Cannabis Legalization IS a Civil Rights Issue
Social equity is important to help people of color move on from the racist inquisition of cannabis prohibition. It’s a Civil Rights issue.
Americans have the right to political and social freedom and equality, as guaranteed by the Constitution. But reflecting on how this country was founded, there is no doubt the reason the U.S. is a superpower today is because the colonists and subsequent immigrants who became the industrialists had free labor through ownership of slaves to build their homesteads, ranches, companies and corporations.
The country would never have the infrastructure it does in terms of roads, buildings and power supplies if it was not for slave labor of people of color. This incomprehensible display of racism has attributed to the empires of American families with names like Rockefeller, Forbes, Vanderbilt and Griswold, to name only a few. The freedom of slaves and later the civil rights movement were pivotal moments of liberty for American people of color, who were not given the same rights to political and social freedom and equality that the Constitution guaranteed.
The legalization of cannabis can also create a huge shift in the Civil Rights of Americans.
Cannabis, Civil Rights and Reefer Madness
After the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws enacted racial segregation and the legal principle “separate but equal.” This carried into schooling, transportation and public facilities. Not until 1954, when the landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education was handed down, did segregation become unconstitutional. Though it took years to implement the decisions, the Supreme Court continued to hand down rulings against the Jim Crow laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were the last laws to help overturn the institutional discrimination.
However, during this period, in 1942, the Japanese Internment took place and people were suspected of committing crimes against the country during WWII solely because of their Japanese ancestry. The abusive move by the American government to substitute race and national origin for evidence is today recognized as shameful and a horrific event in our country’s history. The admission a sign that times are changing.
While laws and policy remove these intolerable acts of American racism on paper, the psychology and education for reform within people is taking longer to change. Decades after the Civil Rights Act was passed, many are still being targeted for the color of their skin, often being stopped at airports, pulled over in traffic and experiencing Constitutional violations of the 4th Amendment, for search and seizure. Official denials and insufficient proof have upheld these behaviors.
Again, in a country not above using skin color as evidence, the prohibition of cannabis in the mid-1930s started a wave of incarceration for people of color who use, grow, or sell marijuana. Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics, made it his mission to seek out jazz musicians who used ‘marihuana.’ His internal memos berated jazz, reading, “It sounded like the jungles in the dead of night.” A different memo cautioned, “Unbelievably ancient indecent rites of the East Indies are resurrected.” And that the lives of jazz players “reek of filth.” He hoped to round up all-black jazz musicians and famously went after singer Billy Holiday for her heroin use — while helping white actress Judy Garland with her “troubled addiction” to heroin and wouldn’t dare arrest her.
“Prohibition was always used to eliminate people from this society and make it harder for them. It was part of the greater effort to continue what our country was unfortunately built on, slavery,” shared Allison Margolin, a Los Angeles-based criminal defense and cannabis attorney who has been heavily involved with California cannabis licensing and criminal drug cases.
Systemic racism leftover from the founders of this country gave way to modern racial profiling by law enforcement and the judiciary courts. The drug war greenlit in the 1980s increased the Jim Crow hysteria for cannabis tenfold, as rogue policy led to training DEA agents to look for people of color to pull over, especially if they’re black and driving expensive cars.
Cannabis was villainized by ‘reefer madness’ and in its own Jim Crow nightmare — no matter the American right to control our body and mind, covered in the opening words of the Declaration of Independence, which guarantees “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Freedom of thought is also guaranteed by the first amendment. The prohibition of cannabis was unconstitutional from the get-go.
But, evolution pushes at humanity and while today humans are under attack by their own species, many people are choosing a higher consciousness over slavery. Prohibition can’t be justified on moral or legal ground. The American Medical Association and the Federal Drug Administration have denied the truth about drugs when they come in conflict with government policies and corporate agendas, but thanks to democracy, cannabis is being freed from illegality and stigma, one state at a time. In a groundbreaking national effort, on November 19th, 2019, The House Judiciary Committee voted 24-10 to advance the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, sponsored by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). If passed by Congress, the U.S. is looking at ending federal cannabis prohibition completely.
The MORE Act would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances, authorize the provision of resources, funded by an excise tax on marijuana products, to address the needs of communities that have been most seriously impacted by the war on drugs and provide for the expungement of federal marijuana convictions and arrests.
First Nations people, the Native Americans who lived in North America before the Europeans invaded, have begun to open dispensaries and cultivation businesses on their reservations. With sovereign immunity from the U.S., the MORE Act will only change things slightly. Josh Grant, an IIPAY Tribe member and president of the IIPAY Economic Development Board, explained, “Let’s say the Fed pass the MORE Act and they put regulations in place, now do we want to give up our sovereign immunity and start operating on federal regulations? Do we want to waive our sovereign immunity and start functioning on state regulation? Probably not. Do we want to make our own regulations that fold these other ones in? Yes, we do.”
Not All Social Equity is Created Equal
Racial profiling is responsible for putting many people of color behind bars for cannabis. Expungement may be a huge win for America but what about reparations? While 40 acres and a mule was a Civil War promise never realized, Native Americans have long suffered in displacement and Mexicans completely shunned in the face of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, cannabis legalization in many states has promised to develop and implement policies that seek to center equity in cannabis policy reform.
Grant shares how deep these reforms are needed for First Nations people.
“What about tribal sovereignty and our ability and our inherent right to provide for our people by any means necessary? When we have elders without power and their houses are falling apart, when we have children without housing, without heat, without running water, when we have third-world conditions on our reservation, shouldn’t we be allowed under our tribal sovereignty to provide an economic plan to try to help these people with the proper dispersal of profit or income to cover the tribe? There’s a major civil right.
“What they’re violating is our tribal sovereignty by restricting us from having a free market to develop our resources to provide for our people. That’s first and foremost here. We’re talking first nations here; we’re talking first people. We’ve been pushed into a corner of worthless land, while the bulk of our territory has been taken and government entities are collecting taxes on that land without remitting a portion of those taxes back to the original people.”
Social equity programs hope to repair the damage done by the war on drugs and assist equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry to decrease disparities in low-income and marginalized communities.
Margolin explained the importance of social equity within the legalization framework, “I think that it’s one of the first times that any of the governmental bodies in the United States has chosen attempt at reparations in any kind of way shape or form. I think there’s obviously a lot that could be done to try to increase the power of social equity applicants. Most of those have to do with access to banking, not having to rely upon individuals or potential conglomerates who might make deals that aren’t like the best, but its better than nothing. It’s definitely a good beginning.”
But is social equity working? While all legal states do not have the same social equity programs, at the local level, cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are trying to set up stronger programs to combat the barriers to enter the cannabis business and offer employment and business ownership opportunities.
Allison Margolin commented on the effectiveness of Los Angeles Social Equity Program,
“There’s social equity issues that will arrive, like we had this whole thing with the electronic first come, first serve, that became a situation and had levels of unfairness. But I think that if we fairly increase the number of dispensaries allowed, there’s no cap and we relax in the sensitive use requirements and if the state has certain requirements for the social equity on the local level that’d be great. Also, if the state-mandated there wouldn’t be a dry county, we could fix this huge disparity between the philosophy of before — the philosophy that’s supposed to be underpinning all of this and going on in these local governments, which is like reefer madness.
“Without the local governments being on board right now we don’t have too much access and that affects the whole market. We need to have more retail. We need to have more state-mandated social equity ownership requirements. But even with those things, yes, people can make money but there are a lot of control issues and the ability to control the market. Otherwise social equity can have benefits.”
States like Illinois and Massachusetts made social equity an integral part of their cannabis legalization. In states that didn’t, like Oregon, the city of Portland stepped up and granted eligibility for reduced license fees to businesses whose owners or staff had previous marijuana convictions; and in 2016, they enacted a city marijuana sales tax to generate funds for economic and education programs in communities where drug laws were disproportionately enforced.
Finding a happy medium for reparations can make sure who is supposed to benefit does, but there are many ways to create categories that were maybe not defined outright. For example, in Los Angeles, there is a three-tier social equity program with many different qualifications and benefits. A workforce requirement has a good faith effort to employ 50% of the weekly hourly workforce from the residents living within a three-mile radius of the cannabis business premises, with 20% social equity workers and 10% transitional workers. There are ways to make opportunities for everyone.
The Importance of Social Equity
Just as vital to understanding that legalization is a civil rights issue, is to be aware of the campaign of disinformation by the government. America is a nation with so many elephants in the room. It’s a zoo. Conscious evolution aside, changes can be made through policy and social equity is a good start.
“Reparations need to happen in the country in order for the United States to survive. Basically, this can be a good beginning to how we start it,” Margolin said. The people who have gone to prison for cannabis had to hire attorneys, had to be bailed out and they lost their jobs. “There should be a way for those people to benefit first economically. In addition to all these laws, the financing needs to be opened up, so passing state and federal banking is part of the effort because then you can have government-mandated funds and specialty programs. But now, you’re basically on your own unless you’re part of a bigger conglomerate, which might be like a big management company or otherwise you’re just in not of good positioning power,” she added.
Social equity is important to help people of color move on from the racist inquisition of cannabis prohibition. Margolin expressed that her grandparents were Holocaust survivors and received reparations from the Germans during her entire life. “They weren’t bitter towards Germans. They had no issues with Germans. Actually they’re both from Poland and they never went back there because they said there was so much anti-Semitism, but they went to Germany.”
The emotional and psychological trauma of racism is a scar this entire nation will carry until it can become completely transparent and make amends. Cannabis legalization is a gigantic step towards equality for all.
Margolin adds, “Basically the drug war and the war with cannabis has always been about taking things that are basic human needs and basic human impulses, which are the right to alter our consciousness on a level that’s pretty nuanced and not bad for you and punishing people for something most everyone does or that many people do.”
Maximize Your Dry January Enjoyment With Daytrip CBD Beverages
Daytrip has developed a range of natural, premium CBD beverages that delight the senses and open the mind to new possibilities.
Do you feel like you overindulged over the holiday season? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. After all the festivities of the Christmas and New Year’s period, some people decide to commit to a month of sobriety, otherwise known as ‘Dry January.’
Researchers at the University of Sussex have been studying Dry January since 2014. They have discovered that participants can expect to have better health – and a healthier bank balance.
But fear not! Dry January doesn’t mean forgoing all things deliciously effervescent. In fact, why not use this opportunity to embark on a new facet of your wellness journey by swapping out sugary sodas with sugar-free CBD beverages.
Daytrip craft natural, premium 100% water-soluble CBD drinks that absorb quickly into the body to maximize the cannabinoid’s bioavailability. CBD is an oil-based product, so when the technology doesn’t create a fully water-soluble CBD, the end product can’t effectively absorb into the body.
For this reason, Daytrip is different from other CBD drink options. The company has developed proprietary Foliole Nexus Technology, leveraging high-frequency energy to minimize the hemp-derived CBD’s particle size, enabling the cannabinoid to provide a near-instant effect and deliver consistent results.
Then, they infuse CBD into sparkling water and a botanical terpene profile to create four delicious flavors — cherry, coconut pineapple, lemon lime and tangerine — that can be used to create CBD cocktails that promote a happy effervescent feeling.
- 3/4 cup lemon lime Daytrip CBD sparkling water
- Ginger – muddled
- ¼ cup peach nectar
- 1 lemon wedge
Combine all ingredients in a glass and garnish with lemon and a ginger shaving.
The Bubbly Brunch
- 1/2 cup Tangerine Daytrip CBD Sparkling Water
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 TBSP elderflower syrup
- 1 lime wedge squeezed into glass
Combine all ingredients in a glass.
- 2 oz Cherry Daytrip CBD Sparkling Water
- 5 oz tequila
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz pomegranate juice
Combine all ingredients in a glass and garnish with cherries and orange slices.
- ½ can Coconut Pineapple Daytrip CBD Sparkling Water
- 1 shot clear rum
- 2 slices of fresh pineapple Ice
Muddle one slice of pineapple and pour in Daytrip Coconut Pineapple, rum and ice. Garnish with the second pineapple slice
Firmly rooted in California culture, Daytrip embraces all that the Golden State represents; getting away from the grind and sharing good vibes.
Whether you’re at the beach, on the slopes, or simply in your own back yard, Daytrip wants to help you maximize your enjoyment.
The K.Haring Collection Is the Embodiment of Functional Art
The new K.Haring Collection is the epitome of his artistic style — vibrant yet sophisticated, stylish yet accessible and extremely enjoyable.
Keith Haring is undoubtedly one of the most influential artists of the 1980s. His graffiti-inspired artwork depicted simplified people, barking dogs and flying saucers worked into tightly arranged patterns. He drew inspiration from popular culture that surrounded him in New York City and beyond, his work could be found in all its bright, graphic glory in the streets, in clubs and the subway.
So it makes perfect sense then that the new K.Haring Collection is the epitome of his artistic style — vibrant yet sophisticated, stylish yet accessible and extremely enjoyable.
“The art world has long had an intertwined relationship with cannabis and has in many ways been instrumental in the advancement of the industry,” said Sasha Kadey, Chief Marketing Officer of Greenlane and Creative Director for the K.Haring Collection.
“The K.Haring Collection will help our mission to destigmatize and elevate the cannabis experience.”
The ten-piece collection is being released through Greenlane Holdings Inc and includes some of Haring’s most recognizable work in four colorways. It includes all of the essentials for an elevated smoking experience: bubblers, rigs, water pipes, tasters, spoon pipes, glass trays, and catchalls. A collaboration with BiC completes the collection with eight distinct lighters in bold hues that feature a range of the artist’s dynamic designs.
Peep the full collection below.
The K.Haring Collection is available now from haringglass.com.
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