Capitol Alert

New growers group will promote ‘sun-grown’ marijuana in California

Flowering marijuana plants grow in Arlington, Washington in this file photo.
Flowering marijuana plants grow in Arlington, Washington in this file photo. Bloomberg

In the latest sign of the maturing marijuana industry in California, a group of mostly Humboldt County-based growers is launching a new organization narrowly focused on representing the interests of sun-grown farmers.

The International Cannabis Farmers Association, to be formally unveiled Monday, is made up of farmers and scientists. The group has retained California Strategies for lobbying services and partnered with Washington-based marketing and branding firm UpShift Strategies to promote the “unique quality and ecological benefits” of sun-grown cannabis products while preserving traditional farming communities.

Among the other focuses will be helping craft appellation of origin rules to distinguish their products once business licenses are distributed next year.

Following the legalization of recreational marijuana last fall, “what we don’t have is that voice at the state Capitol,” said chairwoman Kristin Nevedal, who previously helped found the Emerald Growers Assn. and Humboldt Growers Assn.

Nevedal said she doesn’t consider the organization a rival to the California Growers Association because it will concentrate mostly on sun-grown marijuana through its advocacy: “We won’t take on issues about the needs of manufacturers or the needs of distributors,” she said.

“We have an incredibly rich history of cultivating cannabis outdoors that has an international reputation,” said Nevedal, adding that the organization would conduct scientific and market research. “These farmers are on the verge of extinction” given the regulations pushing more growing indoors.

The new farmers association has a seven-member board and will partner with established organizations that have hundreds of members. Protecting the environment is also a priority, Nevedal said.

“The idea that we would cultivate indoors for derived products (using) acres upon acres upon acres ... puts not only California but other states completely out of compliance with their carbon-footprint standards,” she said.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago