Humboldt County Cannabis Marketing Assessment Update

On May 13, 2020, Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA) signed a contract with Humboldt County to develop and complete a Humboldt County Marketing Analysis and Assessment. The assessment will be submitted on or before July 31, 2020. Over the past month and a half, HCGA has gathered and assessed information on the creation of a successful marketing program for Humboldt’s cannabis industry, based on the experience of other regional marketing projects in California and around the world. HCGA has contracted with three experts to help guide the assessment: Massimo Vittori, Camron King, and Genine Coleman.

Massimo Vittori is the Managing Director of The Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn), an NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland. oriGIn’s goals are to campaign for the effective legal protection and enforcement of geographical indications (GI) at the regional, national, and international levels through campaigns aimed at decision-makers, the media, and the public at large; and promote GIs as a sustainable development tool for producers and communities.

Camron King is President and Founder of Oakwood Strategic LLC. Recognized for his dynamic leadership, effective management, and forward-thinking approach to brand building, Camron has been fortunate to have built a successful career in value-added agriculture in both wine and caviar. His experiences are diverse, ranging from marketing, public relations, management to government affairs.

Genine Coleman is the Founder and Executive Director of the Origins Council and the Co-Founder of the Mendocino Appellations Project. She brings experience in geographical indication and organizational development, as well as a deep understanding of cannabis culture on the North Coast.

The marketing assessment will assess established regional marketing strategies for globally renowned export products and apply lessons from these case studies to Humboldt County’s cannabis industry. In particular, the assessment will draw upon four detailed case studies: Napa Valley wine, Bordeaux wine, Kona coffee, and Colombian coffee.

Each of these regions have, to varying degrees, successfully deployed regional marketing strategies to promote long-term sustainable rural economic development, facilitate input from stakeholders on how the regional brand should be positioned, distribute economic benefits equitably to the community, promote environmental sustainability, and provide for the legal protection of collective intellectual property. Applying lessons from these successful regions will help inform the creation of resilient, long-term local institutions that can successfully promote Humboldt County cannabis through a lens of equity and environmental and economic sustainability.

Humboldt County’s cannabis industry has been and continues to be critical to the livelihoods of thousands of county residents and the county’s economic resilience as a whole. As national and international markets open, a well-managed regional marketing program will be essential to building Humboldt County’s resilience and prosperity for many decades.

Draft Working Outline

  1. Introduction/Executive Summary
  2. Why market Humboldt cannabis? An introduction to the craft cannabis/commodity cannabis debate.
  3. The state of Humboldt cannabis and the cannabis market.
  4. Size and scope of Humboldt cannabis
  5. Production methods for Humboldt cannabis
  6. Non-cultivation Humboldt cannabis businesses
  7. Existing and potential access to markets (state, national, international)
  8. Existing market dynamics
  9. County of origin and appellations
  10. Introduction to regional marketing strategies.
  11. Geographical indications (GIs) as a model for successful regional marketing development.
  12. GIs as a holistic approach to regional marketing: environmental sustainability, equity, legitimacy, resilience.
  13. Regional marketing case studies
  14. Napa wine
  15. Bordeaux wine
  16. Colombian coffee
  17. Kona coffee
  18. Lessons from case studies
  19. Regulation of quality and standards
  20. Industry organization, involvement, and consensus-building
  21. Consumer-facing marketing
  22. Industry-facing marketing
  23. Equity
  24. Environmental sustainability
  25. Tourism
  26. Protection of IP
  27. Research and development
  28. Policy advocacy
  29. Public/private partnership
  30. Recommendations for development of a Humboldt County cannabis marketing program.
  31. Addendum: Impacts of COVID-19.

HCGA looks forward to submitting this document to the county on or before July 31, 2020.

Massimo Vittori is the Managing Director of The Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn), an NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland. oriGIn’s goals are to campaign for the effective legal protection and enforcement of geographical indications (GI) at the regional, national, and international levels through campaigns aimed at decision-makers, the media, and the public at large; and promote GIs as a sustainable development tool for producers and communities.

Camron King is President and Founder of Oakwood Strategic LLC. Recognized for his dynamic leadership, effective management, and forward-thinking approach to brand building, Camron has been fortunate to have built a successful career in value-added agriculture in both wine and caviar. His experiences are diverse, ranging from marketing, public relations, management to government affairs.

Genine Coleman is the Founder and Executive Director of the Origins Council and the Co-Founder of the Mendocino Appellations Project. She brings experience in geographical indication and organizational development, as well as a deep understanding of cannabis culture on the North Coast.

The marketing assessment will assess established regional marketing strategies for globally renowned export products and apply lessons from these case studies to Humboldt County’s cannabis industry. In particular, the assessment will draw upon four detailed case studies: Napa Valley wine, Bordeaux wine, Kona coffee, and Colombian coffee.

Each of these regions have, to varying degrees, successfully deployed regional marketing strategies to promote long-term sustainable rural economic development, facilitate input from stakeholders on how the regional brand should be positioned, distribute economic benefits equitably to the community, promote environmental sustainability, and provide for the legal protection of collective intellectual property. Applying lessons from these successful regions will help inform the creation of resilient, long-term local institutions that can successfully promote Humboldt County cannabis through a lens of equity and environmental and economic sustainability.

Humboldt County’s cannabis industry has been and continues to be critical to the livelihoods of thousands of county residents and the county’s economic resilience as a whole. As national and international markets open, a well-managed regional marketing program will be essential to building Humboldt County’s resilience and prosperity for many decades.

Draft Working Outline

  1. Introduction/Executive Summary
  2. Why market Humboldt cannabis? An introduction to the craft cannabis/commodity cannabis debate.
  3. The state of Humboldt cannabis and the cannabis market.
  4. Size and scope of Humboldt cannabis
  5. Production methods for Humboldt cannabis
  6. Non-cultivation Humboldt cannabis businesses
  7. Existing and potential access to markets (state, national, international)
  8. Existing market dynamics
  9. County of origin and appellations
  10. Introduction to regional marketing strategies.
  11. Geographical indications (GIs) as a model for successful regional marketing development.
  12. GIs as a holistic approach to regional marketing: environmental sustainability, equity, legitimacy, resilience.
  13. Regional marketing case studies
  14. Napa wine
  15. Bordeaux wine
  16. Colombian coffee
  17. Kona coffee
  18. Lessons from case studies
  19. Regulation of quality and standards
  20. Industry organization, involvement, and consensus-building
  21. Consumer-facing marketing
  22. Industry-facing marketing
  23. Equity
  24. Environmental sustainability
  25. Tourism
  26. Protection of IP
  27. Research and development
  28. Policy advocacy
  29. Public/private partnership
  30. Recommendations for development of a Humboldt County cannabis marketing program.
  31. Addendum: Impacts of COVID-19.

HCGA looks forward to submitting this document to the county on or before July 31, 2020.

2021 HCGA Policy Strategic Plan

Based on the results of the HCGA policy survey, discussions with membership, historic HCGA policy priorities, and a sense for the policy issues most likely to emerge in 2021, staff has proposed, and HCGA’s policy commitee has approved, the following policy priorities.

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