The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has released proposed regulations for the OCal Program, a statewide certification program that will establish and enforce comparable-to-organic cannabis standards.
The release of these regulations marked the official start of the public comment period provided under California law. All interested parties are encouraged to submit comments about the proposed cannabis regulations by Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
The OCal Program will ensure that cannabis products bearing the OCal seal have been certified to consistent, uniform standards comparable to the National Organic Program. The term “organic” is a designation reserved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for products it has certified as organic, per the terms of the National Organic Program.
Since cannabis is illegal under federal law, cannabis operations cannot be certified under the National Organic Program, therefore the word organic cannot be used to refer to cannabis grown in California. Per Business and Professions Code Section 26062(a)(1), CDFA is required to establish a certification program for cannabis that is comparable to the National Organic Program and the California Organic Food and Farming Act by Jan. 1, 2021. CDFA proposes adoption of Chapter 3, within Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations, to establish the OCal Program for cannabis.
CDFA came up with the term OCal to identify what it will consider comparable-to-organic cannabis in California. This means if a commercial cannabis licensee in California produces cannabis according to OCal’s requirements, then they may be eligible to apply for comparable-to-organic certification through the OCal Program.
Certified operations will be authorized to sell, label or represent their commercial cannabis products as OCal products. CDFA will certify cannabis growers and distributors, and the California Department of Public Health will be certifying manufacturers.
Comments on the proposed regulations may be submitted via email to CDFA.CalCannabis_OCal@cdfa.ca.gov or by mail to:
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Attention: Kristi Armstrong
CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division
Proposed OCal Regulations
P.O. Box 942871
Sacramento, CA 94271