The Quest to Make California’s Weed the Champagne of Cannabis

What’s in a name? For champagne, it’s the expectation of excellence and at the very least, bubbles. It’s even protected by law: To call a liquid champagne, you have to grow it in a certain part of France under certain rules of planting, pressing and even packaging. All the fuss means champagne makers can charge a premium for their product.

The same may soon be true for Northern California’s legendary weed. Legalization of cannabis in the state has been great for consumers—it means more oversight and safety testing, and fewer people thrown in jail for possession. But it’s been hell for growers. These farmers are suddenly finding themselves swamped with mountains of regulations meant to protect the environment and the consumer, but which end up burdening the grower.

“We’re at least $100,000 into just consultants and we’re probably $20,000 into fees, and they haven’t all clicked

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