NEVADA CITY, Calif. April 12, 2017 – The landscape of California’s cannabis world is fast changing, and we as a community have to find the best way to navigate through new territory. These changes have created a lot of confusion and uncertainty and the tendency is often to deny or ignore them, but the reality is we all have to deal with them, like it or not.

The ensuing decisions made by elected officials, cultivators, businesses and community members will have deep repercussions for the future of our community. For patients, there is a concern for health and quality of life. For many others, it will be a question of livelihood in times of economic instability and scarce opportunities. As a community, we must decide how long we want to pursue a pathway of persecution, while suffering the impacts of prohibition.

As the county ramps up its approach to develop the permanent ordinance this will be a continuing hot topic throughout the year. There will be a lot of discussion around what we should or should not do. Ideally this discussion will be healthy, with open and well-rounded perspective, and at the end of the day we’ll have constructive feedback that we can build on.

But good policy depends on good information: Knowing the rules of the game, seeing how the field is set up, understanding the dynamics between players — it’s all important in creating a successful league. That is exactly what the state has been working hard to create in regards to the new cannabis industry.

Next Monday we get a firsthand view of what that new landscape will look like. The Nevada County Cannabis Alliance is delighted to host a Town Hall Meeting with Amber Morris, head of CalCannabis, the regulatory agency tasked with developing the rules and regulations that will oversee cannabis cultivation in California — Information that is straight from the source.

Lawyers are wonderful at providing interpretations of the rules but if you want accurate information from the person who is in charge of administrating the program, then Amber Morris is that person.

While the rules and regulations are still in development, CalCannabis has done a thorough job at consulting with stakeholders to come up with the new rules. In the past year it has taken surveys, consulted with organizations like the California Growers Association and taken input from industry leaders and elected officials. It has taken into account economic impact studies, visited legal grows and soaked up any and all information regarding cannabis cultivation to craft the new set of rules.

For the first time in history the state government has partnered with growers and experts in order to legitimize cannabis cultivation. And we hope that local elected officials are as inspired by this historic move on the part of state agencies to create a path to legalization.

So far we have the mandates and direction from MCRSA and Prop 64, two pieces of legislation the state is working to reconcile. We also have follow-up bills piling up in Sacramento, and the first drafts of the detailed regulations are scheduled to come out any day, but there is still time for input and changes to be made.

As much as this is a wonderful opportunity to learn what’s happening at the state level this is also a wonderful opportunity for the state to learn from us. It’s important that we provide questions and feedback that helps illuminate our situation — a county that lacks proper licensing and regulations — and the future that we believe we can create here. Please come prepared to participate in intelligent discourse.

With so much change and uncertainty it’s easy to react negatively to the unknown. However, keeping an open mind, finding courage and curiosity, gathering as much solid information as possible helps position us in these times. Let’s take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to learn how we can take the best path forward both individually and collectively.

The event will be held on April 17th starting at 6:00 pm, free for all to attend at the Nevada Theatre and will also be broadcasted live by KVMR. We hope to see the entire community there.

Jonathan Collier is an executive board member of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance.