California Growers Association, the leading representing of the state’s 55,000 craft and independent cannabis farmers, completed its 2016 Policy Summit over the weekend in Sacramento and announced a new focus would be to build relationships with lawmakers and regulators in the state’s counties and cities. Cal Growers will continue to work as a consistent voice in the legislative and regulatory arenas.
“We’ve just completed a remarkable year where, for the first time in two decades, our industry had a seat at the table while state legislation was being created,” Hezekiah Allen, Cal Growers executive director, said. “Now it’s time to build on that success at the local government level.”
Allen continued, “Our strategy will be to approach county and city leaders with compassion and mutual respect. We will maintain the utmost respect for all perspectives as we move forward, even those who may not agree with us.”
Cal Growers’ legislative success in 2015 helped the state create California’s first regulations governing medical cannabis, 19 years after voters approved the product for use by patients with physician recommendations.
Three bills establishing licensing protocols and regulation for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, testing and distribution were signed by Gov. Brown in October.
While the legislation did not address all areas of cultivation, delivery, transportation and distribution, it created a framework for partnership with the state’s 58 counties and city jurisdictions.
“Now the state is building relationships with local government,” Allen said. “It’s essential that Cal Growers get to know and build relationships with counties and cities, and do so with respect.”
Under new state legislation, cannabis industry professionals must receive local permits from their county or city before applying for upcoming state licenses. Some counties and cities, responding to errors in the legislative package, have rushed ordinances to ban or highly restrict cultivation.
The errors will be resolved by the State Legislature in upcoming weeks, during which time Cal Growers membership will begin meeting with local authorities to help frame positive ordinances that create jobs, provide tax revenue and protect the environment.