California may be a long way from fulfilling its complex medical marijuana regulation package that went into effect on January 1, but one measure could be the saving grace for growers concerned about the threat of "big marijuana" taking over the industry. The provision? Cannabis appellation. 

Similar to the way sparkling wine can only be labeled "champagne" if it was produced in the Champagne region of France or the way that only cheeses aged in the Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon may bear the name "Roquefort,"  appellation would ensure that certain strains are only grown in a certain region.

For instance, Mendo Purps—first cultivated in Mendocino, California—would only be able to to be grown in that location. If the same strain was cultivated outside of the area, it would have to go by a different or more generic name.

According to the Guardian, this provision would give growers in specific areas known for producing high-quality strains the exclusive rights over their location in marketing. 

“This is how small business competes with big marijuana," Dale Sky Jones, chancellor of Oaksterdam University, said. “And this is why this is so unbelievably important … Appellation is going to wind up being the first line of defense.”

(Photo Courtesy of kut.org)