Sometimes, products from a particular geographic area are so good they become synonymous with quality. Take Kobe beef, Parmesan cheese, and champagne - all of which started as regional specialities, and are now frequently ripped off by lesser manufacturers hoping to cash in on the prestige of the name, without adhering to the same standards of quality.
It makes sense that producers in these regions have been fighting to protect their regional trademarks - and, in the case of champagne and parmesan cheese, have won the right to sue anyone outside the region advertising their wares under a faux regional appellation.
All these concerns are wending their way into labelling standards in the legal cannabis industry. For small producers, having a legal right to their regional name could be a safeguard against competition from "Big Marijuana," according to Oaksterdam University chancellor Dale Sky Jones.
"This is how small business competes with big marijuana," Jones tells The Guardian. "And this is why this is so unbelievably important … appellation is going to wind up being the first line of defence."
'Weed Country' could become like 'Wine Country'
Labelling restrictions in the cannabis world would accomplish the same thing they do for manufacturers of high-end booze and cheese: ensure protection for producers in a specific area who built the region's prestige by producing great products.
Take Cannabis Cup-winning Mendo Purps, for example - under revamped cannabis appellation laws, growers wouldn't be able to use the regional name unless the bud was actually grown in Mendocino County.
Of course, the appellation issue is one of many thorny issues in the world of cannabis labelling: given the complex, and often contradictory packaging rules from state to state, it's going to take a while to standardize regional labelling restrictions. In the meantime, the old adage applies: do your homework, and beware of imitations.
h/t The Guardian