Historically we have steered away from local government work, choosing to defer to local groups. However, local leadership in many counties are expressing either fatigue or frustration. We have requests fro support from several counties. Additionally, when asked what was the highest priority between local, state and federal advocacy, local was the highest priority with 27 percent.
We began diagnosing this shifting prioritization several months ago and have contract with a consultant to help launch a robust local government program.
Advocating for the establishment of local permitting programs at the local level will be a high priority in 2017. There are two strategies for achieving this:
- Advocacy: working with local government
- Electoral: developing and passing a local ordinance
In some counties we will play a lead role. In others we will play a support role. Our goal is to advance responsible permitting in as many counties as possible without spreading ourselves too thin. It is critical that permits be available in as many counties as possible at the advent of licensure in 2018. It will be very difficult for growers and business owners in non-permit or ban counties to catch up once the flood gates have been opened.
A steering committee has been formed. Casey Brown was selected as the interim chair of this committee. The committee will host a community BBQ sometime in September and will be convening a strategic planning workshop in October.
A new organization is being formed to help drive policy change and raise awareness at the local level. Collaboration is strong and partnership with Cal Growers is a foundational element of this nascent group. Our Nevada County leadership is pivoting to take a slightly more regional focus and support organizing efforts in other counties in the Sierra foothills. Jonathan continues as local chair and is working closely with the founder’s committee for the new partner group.
We continue to support the efforts of local partners in Calaveras. The election cycle is the highest priority in Calaveras, with two important ballot measures on the ballot. Calaveras County has established itself as a leader in the state with the highest rate of potential licensees of any county in the state, according to the Department of Food and Agriculture Survey.
Los Angeles City:
Los Angeles City has suffered through several years of severe restrictions imposed by Measure D. The ballot measure was a response to wild west market conditions that were plaguing neighborhoods and communities. The city council has made a move to place a replacement measure on the ballot partially in response to a measure placed on the ballot by the United Cannabis Business Association. Cal Growers has worked to encourage unity within the cannabis stakeholders, particularly focusing on our partnership with the California Minority Alliance, as well as the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force and the Cultivators Alliance.
Los Angeles has become a major focus and priority for the California Cannabis Delivery Alliance. Los Angeles is the worlds largest cannabis market; ensuring that non-storefront dispensaries have a path to licensure in this community is an important opportunity to make progress on ensuring this segment of the market has a pathway to regulation.
Cal Growers has taken on a more direct role in the “Yes on AF” committee. This has become our main focus in Mendocino and will remain that way through November. We are also supporting Measures AI and AJ, related to taxation.
Humboldt County has community development challenges. It is a very big county with several factions, each one isolated from the others and the county itself is one of the more isolated in the state. The county has a tendency to remain very inwardly focused while neglecting the larger policy landscape. This fragmented landscape is best illustrated by the disparity between local registrations (2300) and folks who participated in the CDFA state survey (380). Most counties had significantly more participants in the statewide survey. Community development in Humboldt County will be a very high priority in the coming months.
Sonoma County is the crossroads between the Bay Area and the North Coast. There is tremendous opportunity in every segment of the cannabis marketplace, from cultivation to retail.
Trinity County recently enacted an urgency ordinance to issue permits. There is a lot to celebrate in this ordinance. Unfortunately, the community is bitterly divided and conflict rules the day. We continue to work with both factions seeking unity and consensus.
The San Francisco Cultivation Leadership Group continues to spearhead efforts to ensure San Francisco has permitting options for cultivation operations.
Butte County is a ban county. The Inland Cannabis Farmers Association is spearheading efforts to pass a local ballot measure to permit cultivation. We are gearing up to provide support for this campaign.