Prompted by “Champagne-Like Labels for Pot Could Protect Growers from ‘Big Marijuana'”: http://www.hightimes.com/read/champagne-labels-pot-could-protect-growers-big-marijuana
Proper cannabis labeling is critical (e.g. not having the ability to label Mexican brick as “Blue Dream” without being prosecuted for fraud), but (to sadly play devil’s advocate) I’m stunned and concerned by the absence of intelligence in the prompting piece on the matter.
…one measure could be the saving grace for growers concerned about the threat of “big marijuana” taking over the industry. The provision? Cannabis appellation.
Similar to the way sparkling wine can only be labeled “champagne” if it was produced in the Champagne region of France or the way that only cheeses aged in the Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon may bear the name “Roquefort,” appellation would ensure that certain strains are only grown in a certain region.
For instance, Mendo Purps—first cultivated in Mendocino, California—would only be able to to be grown in that location. If the same strain was cultivated outside of the area, it would have to go by a different or more generic name.
I never want to be a jerk about it, but to judicially coerce (and applaud) regionalism for certain strains is idiotic, and demonstrates an unacceptable absence of business acumen at high levels of cannabis policy reform (high enough to be published in High Times magazine), because cannabis can be grown indoors (regionalism is logically irrelevant in many cases).
“Big marijuana” will exist as any dominant market players exist in any industry, but unless the government effectively shoves it up our asses by regulatory favoritism forming monopolistic results (like they’ve devastatingly done with healthcare to allow outrageous price fixing by law), concerns over “big marijuana” are simply a red herring leveraged as part of the tired and reckless demonization against capitalism (not just capitalism abuse).
Beer offers the best comparison. Sure we have our Buds and Coors (“big beer”), but we have a universe of passionate beer makers at the “small” level (e.g. Southern Tier, Rogue, etc.) There’s no sane reason to believe that cannabis will professionally lead to the contrary by natural market forces. People (e.g. yours truly) are very passionate about this plant, and many growers will go through the best lengths to ensure their result is free from toxins (because most cannabis users demand that freedom, and consumer advocacy groups can and likely will test and publish validation of quality).
Logic dictates there needs to be two brands for each cannabis product sold.
One is obviously the strain name itself. In beer terms, a strain name is like a kind of beer (e.g. ale, stout, etc.) Cannabis is vastly more flexible in terms of stylistic reach, so unlike beer, there will continue to be hundreds (if not thousands) of strains.
The other brand represents the grower(s). This could be a company (of any size) brand, or the brand of an independent growing ‘rock star’.
Combine the two brands and you have a quick and stable indication for the consumer regarding the plant being purchased.
Certain brands will go mainstream, while others will become popular in the “underground” region of life. Brand familiarity and loyalty will keep most consumers on the right track.
Add the store brand into the mix (e.g. only buy from a reputable location) and we have reliable cannabis retail on par with any other industry.
I’m not an expert in growing cannabis, but I sense that consistency in strain results by a single grower is possible (e.g. by cloning and strict discipline towards other growing variables). If the best grower sells a signature version of Blue Dream, for example, then anyone buying that product will get what they expect.
There will be variances similar to wine due to uncontrollable outdoor variables when dealing with outdoor grown strains (a natural consumer risk), but indoor grown strains logically negate those variances.
Unlike beer (but like wine), cannabis pricing will vary dramatically based upon the economic law of supply and demand. A signature growing star producing limited quantities of a popular outcome will command a heavy price. Aging the result can change the effect in a desirable manner, and even that comparison with wine exists (aging becomes a cost factor), but I somewhat digress.
“Big marijuana” will likely be budget-conscious marijuana, as is the case with “big beer”.
There will thankfully be a thriving middle ground to fit the budget and tastes of all cannabis consumers (just as there is with wine) — again, assuming the government bar to entry (e.g. annual growing license fees in the tens of thousands of dollars and subject to arbitrary government grant nonetheless, hefty regulatory paperwork burdens and accompanying fees, problematic taxation, etc. — the kinds of things that only “big marijuana” can handle) is healthily avoided.
If a grower in a region can grow a strain outdoors in a way impossible to replicate anywhere else, then regional name and well-earned fame fits. In other words, regionalism can only apply to outdoor grown strains, and sensible cannabis labeling needs to include that distinction.
There should also be much greater care in naming strains (perhaps inspired by a formalized set of naming guidelines publicly published by the cannabis community), which should logically include avoiding regionalism due to the indoor growing possibility. A name best describing the effect makes sense (e.g. wreck strains), but artistic freedom should dominate.
I loathe the need to counter the mass brainwashing by academics (those having no business running experience whatsoever) demonizing capitalism.
Yes, there are obviously private sector abuses (greed, theft, etc.), just as there are abuses of cannabis (and anything else in life), but those abuses are not automatic by any sanity.
Profit (for prime example) simply means more money coming in than going out. That’s not evil in and of itself, just as cannabis use isn’t evil. Profit is a growth mechanism, and when used properly, it opens the door for hiring (creates jobs) — a necessary and good thing. If a company poisons people for the sake of profit, then that’s business abuse (and illegal, which only matters when a corrupt government doesn’t exist to corruptly rule in favor of that abuser — think certain unhealthy product that can also be smoked).
Abuse itself should be the sole and sharp focus of law, so not blanket rights infringement to supposedly (taxpayer expensively, but not necessarily) address the relatively minor instances of abuse.
Education is the only possibly lawful risk management solution in a nation with an unalienable right to liberty, consistently logically speaking. That seriously powerful (when publicly embraced) and fundamentally necessary right to prevent abusive law should have instantly ended judicial racism, sexism, and literally all other forms of judicial discrimination established and illegally hypocritically sustained by corrupt pre-American conservatives across the political spectrum.
Harm must be maximally conclusively defined for fairness, so (by definition) justice — and nonetheless evolutionary progress (best health) — for any law to make positive sense.
Importantly note that a brand should be trademarked for legal protection, so expect strain names to become trademarked for worst through best.
I hope (and resources permitting, will publicly press) for the option of public domain trademarks, so a strain name (among others) can be conveniently lawfully placed in that domain by the name’s creator.