Bring a bottle of Champagne to a party, and you’ll get a reaction no other wine elicits. The reason dates back to 19th-century France. Inferior viticulture regions and fraudulent winemakers were selling counterfeit bottles of Champagne, taking advantage of its hard-earned reputation as a luxury good. The French government’s solution was to enact geographic designation rules, preventing anyone outside the region from using its name on products. By the early 20th century, however, local producers were cutting corners and pocketing the extra profits, so the government created an agency to enforce quality standards. Today, the Champagne appellation promises two things: a specific flavor imparted by the region’s environmental conditions (known as a terroir) and a level of quality based on strict production methods.
An appellation system that regulates quality and designates a product’s origin could benefit the cannabis industry, protecting small-scale farmers from corporate growing operations and offering consumers high-quality choices beyond generic weed….