CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing
1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
1-833-CALGROW (1-833-225-4769)
calcannabis@cdfa.ca.gov

OCal Program


Proposed Regulations for Certification of Cannabis Comparable to the National Organic Program

On May 1, 2020, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released the 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 a 45-day public comment period provided under California law. All interested parties were encouraged to submit comments about the proposed cannabis regulations by Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

OCal modified the proposed regulations and the first 15-day comment period was held from August 31, 2020, to September 15, 2020. The proposed regulations were modified again, which prompted a second 15-day comment period that was held from November 9, 2020, to November 24, 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.

OCal is a statewide certification program that will establish and enforce comparable-to-organic cannabis standards. 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.

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 2021. CDFA proposes adoption of Chapter 3, within Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations, to establish the OCal Program for cannabis.


Proposed OCal Regulatory Materials


O-cal logo

Why Do We Call It “Comparable-to-Organic” Cannabis?

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has been mandated by state law to develop a program for cannabis that is 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.

So how do we refer to cannabis grown in a way that’s comparable to the National Organic Program’s standards?

CDFA came up with the term OCal to identify what we will be considering comparable-to-organic cannabis in California. This means if you’re a commercial cannabis licensee in California, and your cannabis is produced according to OCal’s requirements, then you 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 be certifying cannabis growers and distributors, and the California Department of Public Health will be certifying manufacturers.

So what are these OCal requirements? Our proposed regulations were released in early May 2020, and the final regulations for the OCal Program will be enacted in 2021, and posted on this web page. We recommend that you sign up for email alerts issued by CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division for news and updates on important issues pertaining to commercial cannabis cultivation in California, including breaking news on the OCal Program.


Public Meetings

Resources From the USDA National Organic Program

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s OCal Comparable-to-Organic Cannabis Program will be comparable to the National Organic Program (NOP). The following NOP resources may be helpful to those who want to learn more about the program.

Tip Sheets

References and Resources