For any plant enthusiast, it’s a particularly romantic truth that the United States’ historic home of Cannabis cultivation also happens to be coterminous with its dominant wine-producing region. For fans of intoxicating substances, it’s downright exciting, not to mention convenient. And, for history and geography buffs, the fact that American weed and wine country not only significantly overlap with one another, but also got their starts in Northern California, is more than just a coincidence – it’s a testament to the special land both industries call home, as well as the industriousness and foresight of the people who brought them both to life.
Unfortunately, the relationship between legal weed and wine hasn’t always been friendly up until now. In Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Barbara counties, fierce wars are being waged between Cannabis cultivators and wine producers, the latter of whom argue that Cannabis cultivation damages their agriculture and sullies the upscale reputation of the wine industry. They’re also not keen on the smell, which they say lessens their quality of operations, especially as far as tourism is concerned. On their side are wealthy proprietors, who don’t want to live next door to a weed farm, legal or not.
Those battles are currently being litigated in the public sphere via local governments and court cases. But there are brighter spots: In late 2020, a law was passed in California, State Bill 67, which allows the California Department of Food and Agriculture to begin administering an appellations program. It will determine geographic boundaries for Cannabis producing regions, the way such designations exist in wine. Many people in the wine world were instrumental in helping Cannabis industry folks put that program, which is still in its infancy, together. They believe that strengthening an appellations system in one industry leads to an overall strengthening in the concept of geographically centered agriculture, which is ideal from both a farming and a marketing standpoint.
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