California Senate Bill 67 and the CDFA’s Cannabis Appellations Program Update

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On September 29, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 67 into law. Senate Bill 67 (“SB-67”) expands upon the Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act’s (“MAUCRSA”) mandate that the California Department of Food and Agriculture (“CDFA”) establish a process by which licensed cannabis cultivators may establish appellations of origin for cannabis produced in certain geographical areas of the state. 

Senate Bill 67 states, among other things, that no later than January 1, 2021, the CDFA shall establish a process by which licensed cultivators may establish appellations of origin, including standards, practices, and cultivars applicable to cannabis produced in a certain geographical area in California.

Additionally, SB-67 reiterates that cannabis cannot be advertised, marketed, labeled, or sold as a produced in a California locality unless 100% of the cannabis contained in the product came from the locality. Previously, the applicable regulations limited an appellation of origin to the county in which the cannabis originated. However, Senate Bill 67 expands the “area” at issue from merely a specific county, to any county, city, or county and city. 

Perhaps most notably, Senate Bill 67 specifies that an appellation of original cannot be approved unless it requires the “practice of planting in the ground in the canopy area and excludes the practice of using structure, including a greenhouse, hoop house, glasshouse, conservatory, hothouse, and any similar structure, and any artificial light in the canopy.” 

Public Comment Period for the Cannabis Appellations Program

Although Senate Bill 67 was signed into law, the CDFA is still in the process of creating the Cannabis Appellations Program that will govern the process by which licensed cultivators may establish appellations of origin. In February of 2020, the CDFA released its proposed regulations for the appellations of origin for cannabis. On October 2, 2020, the CDFA released modifications to the proposed appellations regulations. The public comment period for the modified proposed regulations is currently open and closes on October 19, 2020. 

The main goals of the Cannabis Appellations Program are to:

  • promote regional cannabis goods and local businesses;
  • prevent the misrepresentation of a cannabis good’s origin, and;
  • support consumer confidence about a cannabis good’s origin and characteristics.

If you would like to submit public comment on the modified regulations, you may do so via mail or email. Click here to get detailed instructions from the CDFA on how to make your voice heard. 

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