On Thursday, January 18, 2018, Virginia Lambing, Paralegal at Simas & Associates, Ltd., attended the first formal meeting of the Cannabis Advisory Committee. The Cannabis Advisory Committee’s purpose is to advise the newly formed Bureau of Cannabis Control on the development of regulations related to the marijuana industry.
The meeting, held at the Convention Center in downtown Sacramento, began at 10:00 AM.
“The convention hall slowly filled but, even at its fullest, the auditorium was only 1/3 full,” explained Ms. Lambing. “From the conversation around me, I surmised that the audience was mostly comprised of people in the cannabis industry (growers and dispensary owners), lobbyists, and attorneys/legal professionals.”
The meeting began on schedule. “Each of the twenty-two (22) panel members proceeded to introduce themselves by stating their name, their profession, and their goals for membership on the committee, ” continued Ms. Lambing. Below is a list of the committee members and their place of work:
· Avis Bulbulyan; CEO of SIVA Enterprises
· Timmen Cermak, MD; Psychiatrist
· Matt Clifford, Esq.; Attorney, California Water Projects
· Bill Dombrowski; CEO of CA Retailers Association
· Jeffrey Ferro; Director, Cannabis Workers Rising
· Kristen Heidelbach-Teramoto; Teamsters Representative
· Eric Hirata; Chief Deputy Director, Dept. of Alcoholic Bev. Control
· Alice Huffman; President, CA-HI NAACP
· Catherine Jacobson, MD; Director of Clinic Research
· Arnold Leff, MD; County Health Officer (Santa Cruz)
· Kristin Lynch; Deputy Executive Director, SEIU 1021
· Kristin Nevedal; Chain, International Cannabis Farmers Association
· Joe Nicchitta; Cannabis Management Officer, Office of Cannabis Management for Los Angeles County
· LaVonne Peck; Owner, Native Network Consulting
· Matt Rahn; Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Temecula
· Keith Stephenson; CEO of Purple Heart
· James Sweeney; Consultant
· Tamar Todd; Legal Director, Drug Policy Alliance
· Helena Williams; California Highway Patrol Captain
· David Woolsey; Sergeant, Division of Marijuana Control, San Jose PD
· Ben Wu; COO, Kush Bottles
· Beverly Yu; Policy Analyst & Lobbyist, UDW/AFSCME 3930
After the introductions, Lori Ajax, Chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, gave an opening statement to the Committee members and the audience.
“The committee then moved to the boilerplate housekeeping items, which were equal parts dull and bureaucratic,” stated Ms. Lambing. “For example, they ratified the official committee agenda, the proposed committee code of ethics, and discussed the intricacies of Robert’s Rules of Order. They then elected a Chair (Matt Rahn) and a Vice-Chair (Tamar Todd).”
The final point of discussion was determining the topics for upcoming presentations.
“The Committee will meet five (5) more times in 2018, and at each meeting the goal is to have an outside party give an informational presentation that will educate both the committee members and the public,” continued Ms. Lambing.
The Committee proposed some ideas for those presentations:
· Enforcement/Compliance with Cannabis Laws
· Environmental Impact of Cannabis Cultivation
· Local Jurisdictions and Local Rules
· Public Health & Effect on Youth
· Taxation, Tax Laws, and Banking
“After compiling this list, the committee then adjourned for lunch,” Ms. Lambing. “So, nothing too earth-shattering. But overall, a nice way to watch an agency-sponsored committee take its first steps.
The next committee meeting is scheduled for March 15, 2018, in Los Angeles.