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Growing & Learning in Northern California

April 28, 2016 | J Stebner

 

 

That feeling is in the air. It's getting warmer outside and things are definitely heating up in the Cannabis Industry. GRC has hit the road, getting back to the land and in touch with our roots.

 

From the Women Grow Gold Country chapter launch in Grass Valley to the Mendocino Cannabis Resource Conference in Willits, we just can't get enough of our amazing community. The bravery, innovation and sheer will to keep the faith and keep propagating this helpful and healing plant in the face of criminalization, asset forfeiture and even the break-up of families by Child Protective Services is astonishing.

 

Staying true to the values of the history and advocacy in the cannabis movement is at the heart of what we do, and it's why we are advocates for regulated marijuana industries. Regulation, including inspections and audits, are critical to transparency, consistent quality, and sustainability. Here in California, news articles highlighting the environmental devastation of unregulated grows, and the greed focus of many incoming investors, remind us that we still have a long path to follow.

 

Let's all remember the volumes of valuable insights and wisdom that seasoned and experienced veterans of this industry have to share with those who will take the time to listen. We here at GRC can't help but take time to reflect on the complicated history of these folks, this movement, and the need to infuse the future with our values as we move into a legal market.

 

Ready, Set, Grow! in Gold Country

 

The chapter launch of Women Grow Gold Country was a smashing success!

 

The founder of Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax, California, Lynnette Shaw, was the first to speak. Lynnette opened the first medical marijuana dispensary in the nation to receive a permit from local government, operating under the auspices of California's prop 215. She charmed the crowd with her sense of humor as she vividly described sometimes harrowing stories of going toe-to-toe with the anti-cannabis establishment including court visits topping 100 in a single year!

 

An injunction in 2011 seeking to shut her down was deemed 'unenforceable' by a District Judge last October, citing a rider on a budget appropriations bill prohibiting the Department of Justice from expending any funds in connection with the enforcement of any law that interferes with California’s ability to ‘implement its own state law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.’ The DoJ appealed, but did not have a leg to stand on and dropped the appeal a few short weeks ago. This is looked at by many as a landmark case and a signal to federal courts across the country. Thank you, Lynnette!

 

GRC's own Director of Business Development Cara Cordoni followed Lynnette, passionately relating her experiences in the swirling center of the maelstrom that is this nascent industry and shared personal stories and insights highlighting the dire necessity of events like Women Grow, which give individuals and families, historically prone to isolation from fear of criminalization, an opportunity to unite, share resources, and learn from each other while standing together as a community.

 

We are proud to have been a part of the launch of this chapter, which has expanded from Nevada County to include Yuba and Sierra Counties.

 

We were also inspired by Heidi Hall, who is running for supervisor in Nevada County. Local ownership is the foundation of California's future cannabis industry, and enshrined as such in the MMRSA laws. Civic engagement is important, but so is leadership. Our industry is coming out of the shadows, and that opens up new avenues and conversations.

 

Building Business Tools in Mendocino

 

 

The Mendocino Cannabis Resource Conference left us all with big smiles on our faces. We are all grateful to Karen Byars for organizing the thoughtful, informative and well-planned event held at the Little Lake Grange, in beautiful Willits, California.

 

Ripe with fascinating speakers and enlightening conversations, our own CEO and Founder Zeta Ceti detailed for participants the fundamental steps involved in building their own Cannabis businesses.

 

Also on hand was Cody Bass of Tahoe Wellness Cooperative and the team from Cannabis Consulting group Pistil and Stigma who along with other community businesses generously co-sponsored the event.

 

Elvy Musikka, federal medical marijuana recipient, gave an inspiring talk to the audience and brought home the point that the war on drugs is really war on us. When 25 million of our brothers and sisters have been criminalized it's time to turn this vast squandering of our resources around and realize this plants full potential.

 

Achieving compliance, both on a state and local level, was the goal of many business owners as they attempted to wrap their minds around all of the steps and players involved. Best practices for water management and strategies for protecting vulnerable watersheds were popular topics. A reminder to install water meters on all tanks to track usage and control leaks started a lot of heads nodding in the crowd.

 

Participants were treated to comprehensive knowledge shared by experienced lawyers, patient advocates, representatives from the Water Quality Control Board, the Department of Agriculture and Julia Carrera shared valuable insights from her experience providing third-party verification for small farmers.

 

Representatives from the organization founded by Carrera the Small Farmers Association were on hand to support farmers on many fronts including maintaining sustainable environmental practices and working to secure Cottage Industry Rights.

 

Moving from an underground to an above ground regulated market has presented multiple and ongoing challenges. Nuisance laws and a history of criminalization and raids by drug task forces have left scars on our communities. Although increasingly many Sheriffs understand the need for sensible drug policy, there are still rogue sheriffs and deputies that can cause havoc in the lives of community members. During comments from the community, a call for specialized training for law enforcement in order to handle this transition to a legal regulated market was well received.

 

A big thanks to Crystal Rae Aleman, chairwoman and founder of Women Grow Mendocino and founder of Plant Spirit Botanicals for hosting a delicious farm to table reception on Friday night.

 

And the highlight of Friday evening was Pebbles Trippet, long-time activist, patient's rights advocate and writer receiving a life-time achievement award. Thank you and congratulations Pebbles!