Humboldt County, CA, August 24, 2016 — With the state of California on the verge of approving the recreational use of marijuana in November, at least one company is ahead of the curve when it comes to transparency, consumer confidence and environmental responsibility.
Humboldt Legends brings together a group of heritage cannabis farmers with some of the highest environmental standards in the industry. One of its farmers participated in the first transaction in the pilot program for the County of Humboldt to track the movement of marijuana through each step of the supply chain, from grower to distributor to consumer. The purchaser was KIVA Confections, a medical cannabis company that focuses on gourmet chocolate confections.
Called “track and trace,” the county utilizes the services of Switzerland-based security company SICPA Security LLC, which can track the origins of every batch of marijuana sold in the county using QR code stamps, much like they currently do for cigarettes.
After a cultivator harvests and packages their cannabis crop, they put the traceable, counterfeit-resistant stamp on the product. The QR code, which can be scanned by a smart phone, includes information about the product, including the name of the strain (“Steelhead Sativa,” for example), the date it was harvested, who grew it (name of cultivator and farm), strain type, and THC and CBD (primary ingredients in marijuana) yields.
This allows not only the government to track the origins of the product, but also distributors and especially consumers to do the same, so they know exactly what they're buying is from Humboldt County, that it is legal, who it was grown by and the strength of the strain of cannabis.
“It's an incredibly exciting moment, for me personally and from an industry standpoint,” said one of Humboldt Legends' farmers and co-founder, Scott Davies, who has been a grower for 20 years. “Humboldt County is the first county in the state to adopt this under the MMRSA (Medical Marijuana Safety and Regulations Act) guidelines. It's been a long time coming, but this way we are able to tell our story, begin to add taxes to local and state coffers and get rid of the kinds of products that are bad for the environment. I've worked all my life for this moment.”
Humboldt Legends, A California Benefit Corporation, was founded in 2015 by Davies, owner of Winterbourne Farms, together with other Humboldt County farmers, industry professionals, and community leaders. Its mission statement is simple yet profound: “Give the plant back to the people, grow for good, and use business to inspire environmental responsibility.”
Davies said the mission of Humboldt Legends is to apply the same level of confidence and concern consumers have for “the lettuce they purchase” to cannabis.
“If consumers care about the wine they buy and the food they eat, they should also care about the cannabis they use, it's the most logical thing in the world,” said Davies, who likened cannabis track and trace to how wine and cigarettes are also labeled and tracked. “Track and trace increases consumer confidence, absolutely.”
Humboldt County's “Humboldt Cannabis Pilot Program,” the first of its kind in the state, started Aug. 1 and concludes in November. The county's pilot program will be fully compliant with the so-called Adult Use Act — California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Proposition 64 — should it pass in November.
“A local track and trace program is critical to demonstrate that the county’s medical cannabis regulatory program incorporates enforcement principles important to local and federal law enforcement, including preventing distribution of cannabis to minors, preventing the diversion of cannabis to other states, preventing cannabis revenue from supporting criminal enterprises and preventing the growing of cannabis on public lands,” said Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf.
For Davies, this collaborative effort between Humboldt County, SICPA (which worked with the county on a pro-bono basis to develop the program), and the cannabis industry, which includes cultivators, distributors and dispensaries, is truly historic.
“There's a huge emotional impact in Humboldt County and we celebrate this partnership with local government in this endeavor,” he said. “Overall, it's a win-win for everybody.”
Davies added that the program also helps to retain the branding and reputation of Humboldt County as producing some of the best, if not the best, cannabis in the country. What Napa County is to wine, Humboldt County is to cannabis, he said.
About Humboldt Legends
Humboldt Legends, A California Benefit Corporation, was founded in 2015 by a group of heritage cannabis farmers who have decades of experience growing marijuana by innovative and sustainable methods, together with other Humboldt County industry professionals and community leaders. Humboldt Legend’s farmers respect the land as well as your health, so they don't use any non-organic chemicals or watershed-damaging methods in their 100% sun-powered fields. Humboldt County's unique terroir serves as a foundation for Humboldt Legends farmers to grow and produce the highest quality cannabis. Humboldt Legends will be launching with the 2016 Fall Harvest.
Switzerland-based SICPA Product Security, LLC, performs track and trace services in about 160 countries, tracks 109 forms of currency, tracks over 77 billion products per year including soda, beer and tobacco and has contracted with the California Board of Equalization since 2005 to track all cigarette sales in the state.
About KIVA Confections
KIVA Confections provides consistently potent, great-tasting, gourmet chocolate confections that set a whole new standard for edible medical cannabis. Founded in 2010 by Scott Palmer and Kristi Knoblich, KIVA Confections™ is a California-based not-for-profit collective. KIVA makes high quality medical edibles for patients, crafted from all natural ingredients and skillfully combined with cannabis. Each batch is lab-tested to ensure consistent THC potency. The company currently offers more than a dozen varieties of chocolate edibles and is one of the most recognized medical cannabis companies in California.
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901