With the upcoming implementation of Proposition 64 on Jan. 1, 2018, the California State Association of Counties, the Rural County Representatives of California and the Urban Counties of California joined forces to co-sponsor the California Counties Cannabis Summit on July 19, 2017, in Sacramento, to get on the same page.
More than 200 county supervisors and senior staff from across the state attended the event to learn from state and county regulators, as well as experts on the law and compliance.
“Cannabis comes with a once-in–a-generation responsibility and opportunity to develop an entirely new state and local policy area,” said Leticia Perez, CSAC First Vice President and Kern County Supervisor, as reported by a CSAC bulletin. “Every one of our 58 counties is being impacted by the legalization of cannabis. Whether you are in a rural county like Humboldt or an urban county like Los Angeles, or a mix of the two like my home county in Kern, you are facing challenges involving cannabis-related issues.”
The California Counties Cannabis Summit held five sessions during the one-day event: Taxing, Banking, & Financial Impacts; Cultivation & Environmental Considerations; National Roundtable: What’s Happening Around the Country; Working with the Industry; and Licensing and Land Use—Local Cannabis Regulatory Programs.
The Taxing, Banking, & Financial Impacts session was a hot topic. “I’m really glad we’re having this conference because we’re especially interested in the banking piece, the whole financing aspect,” said Carole Groom, San Mateo County Supervisor and UCC Vice-Chair.
Alan Fernandes, Executive Vice President, CSAC Finance Corp, moderated that session and the panelists included John Bartholomew, Tax-Treasurer Collector, Humboldt County; Courtney Jensen, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, California and Nevada Credit Union League; and Tim Schaefer, Deputy Treasurer for Public Finance, State Treasurer’s Office.
On June 27, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 94 to synthesize the regulation of medical and recreational cannabis, but it also made some of the draft cannabis regulations proposed by state agencies irrelevant. Accordingly, Alex Traverso, Chief of Communications at the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation at the California Department of Consumer Affairs, explained in his opening remarks at the California Counties Cannabis Summit that the BMCR should have revised regulations to share with the public in the coming months.
“We’re shooting for late fall for the new [recreational] regulations, but the process will obviously be a little different than what we saw with the medical regulation,” Traverso said. “It’s going to be a five-day comment period instead of 45 days because of the emergency authority we were given to get these regulations done by our mandated date.”
CSAC recorded the California Counties Cannabis Summit, so the videos will be made available on its website when they’re ready.