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“Emerald Triangle” More Than Just A Nickname Under New California Label Law

Manish Panghal via unsplash

California has become the first state to enact a law that lets marijuana products use branding from a specific region, much like the wine industry.

The new law says marijuana products can’t claim to be from a given city or county unless the entire product was produced in the “sun and soil” of that area. That means marijuana products can no longer claim to be from California’s “emerald triangle” unless they were 100 percent produced in the “sun and soil” of Mendocino, Trinity or Humboldt counties.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law in late September. The Humboldt County Growers Alliance lobbied the bill, which they say will help promote their region’s unique growing conditions that result in high-quality cannabis — similar to what the wine industry calls the “terroir.”

“Cannabis produced in different regions of Humboldt County — places like the Mattole or Palo Verde or Willow Creek — they have these special qualities because you have these unique climates and unique elevations,” policy director Ross Gordon says.

While there isn’t a huge demand for boutique weed just yet, growers hope that these new label regulations will build a market for locally grown marijuana — and help small farmers compete with larger corporations.

“Until now we didn't even really have any legal tools to talk about [region of origin] or to defend it,” Gordon says. “So I think right now, today, there's not as much recognition, but it's something that would be built over time.”

April Ehrlich is an editor and reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was a news host and reporter at Jefferson Public Radio.