Is cannabis branding really that important? When cannabis was exclusively a black-market product, names, labels and strain distinctions were the least of people’s worries. They just wanted to get their pot, period.
Names like Blue Dream, OG Kush and Cookies were considered useless jargon to the average pot-smoker. And unless you were a hardcore cannabis connoisseur, the terms indica and sativa could fall under that category as well.
Legalization is spreading throughout the United States. There are now eight states boasting recreational marijuana, and California is soon to join this January. Because of this, cannabis branding has exploded. Nowadays, products range from traditional strains to CBD cartridges to an assortment of edibles. Thus, weed marketing has become an integral part of the booming cannabis industry.
So much so, in fact, that the state of California plans to usher in a new form of cannabis branding regulations. A practice that will require companies to label their products with 100% honesty.
California Set To Crack Down
With California set to legalize recreational cannabis on January 1st, the state is beginning the process of product regulation. One of their boldest initiatives is a plan to monitor labeling regarding the of origin of retail pot. Essentially, it will become illegal to say your pot was grown somewhere it wasn’t.
While this might seem like a trivial worry to the common observer, it actually poses a problem for growers and manufacturers. Particularly, in Northern California, where high-quality pot has made a name for a few counties. Those in the industry find themselves pushing for honest marketing. They realize that they need help to squash competitors that mislabel their products to make them look more desirable.
The biggest example of this is in Humboldt, a California county synonymous with dank bud.
“People are claiming to be something that they’re not,” says Dani Burkhart, a founding board member of the Humboldt Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really important when you have a craft product to have something that protects branding rights. In California, you can’t call wine that’s not from Sonoma, ‘Sonoma Valley Wine.'”
Final Hit: Why Cannabis Branding Is More Important Than Ever Before
While certain companies may argue that they properly label their products, at the moment, we have no way to verify that. Products are simply not being tracked right now with due diligence, despite a California initiative last year that would prohibit “representation which tends to create the impression that cannabis originated in a particular place or region, unless the label of the advertised product bears an appellation of origin.”
While some might downplay the issues at hand Patrick Murphy, who helped write Humboldt’s marijuana ordinance, believes false labeling hinders small-scale farming and that corporations are taking advantage of counties like Humboldt, who remain ahead of the curve in terms of cannabis cultivation.
“For us, appellations are about realizing the way the practices we use make us different from large-scale commercial farming,” says Murphy.”For so long, people in this area could not be proud of themselves publicly. I’m not so keen on, say, an L.A. or Bay Area company capitalizing falsely on being based in Northern California.”
Hopefully, with stricter regulations upon January’s legalization, growers can finally flaunt their products without the threat of imitation.