Advocates Present “Cannabis 101”
The Santa Cruz County Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee continued their fact finding at their third meeting Tuesday. This time though, it was committee members, specifically those representing various local cannabis advocacy groups, who led the discussion.
After Susan Pearlman from the CAO’s office called the meeting to order she distributed the agenda and summary notes from the first two meetings and asked the members for approval.
(In oral communications I asked if the results of the initial “values” exercise might be included in the record. I also expressed the opinion that I believed the committee meetings should be chaired by a citizen member and that the chair and vice chair should be selected by the members.)
A motion was made to make audio recordings of the meetings. Members agreed with the stipulation that no transcription of the recording was necessary or desired.
Eric Olsen, county consultant then took the floor for his “Context for Conversation” slides. In rapid succession and without discussion he asked whether a “market analysis” should be undertaken to determine “What is actually happening here? He also thought the committee should be considering “How have our policies, enforcement strategies, culture and private sector created this situation? and “What can we do together to create new models that achieve our three goals?
His second slide was a chart that compared population density in Santa Cruz County to selected other counties and was titled “Reality Check: Santa Cruz is small and heavily populated”
Next came a list of “Our Common Interests” which ironically did not include cannabis cultivation or distribution – and finally a slide with the title of “Data Driven Decision Making” which included these questions: “How far should cannabis industry be from schools, parks, youth centers? Do our views differ by geography and ethnicity? Where and how should we allow cannabis to be grown?”
The last slide also included a chart with a public opinion poll showing what likely voters in California think about legalizing marijuana and how opinions differ by party affiliation and ethnicity. Olsen suggested that the County might fund some public polling and committee members should consider what questions they would like to see asked.
At that point Olsen and Pearlman turned the floor over to Cricket Roberto, a committee member representing RCSC, (the coalition of cannabis industry advocates who spearheaded the signature gathering for the petition which resulted in the Board of Supervisors rescinding the most recent cultivation ordinance).
For the next 90 minutes or more Roberto, and fellow committee members Colin Disheroo, Patrick Malo and Kim Sammet narrated a slide show that covered basic topics from plant physiology and life cycle to extraction, infusion and marketing. The group fielded questions from other committee members on a wide range of subjects.
The presentation was cut short before the final slides on distribution and economics could be shared but in general it was well received and the questions from other committee members were thoughtful
The meeting then moved to attempts to organize small group field trips and future meeting agendas.