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Legal marijuana: Where are we now? State committee to meet in Ukiah

Industry leaders and policymakers will be gathering in Ukiah Thursday to report on the first 60 days of legalized recreational marijuana in California.

“It will be an open and honest conversation about where we’ve been, where we’re going and how we can work together to create a smooth transition in the months and years to come,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), who said Tuesday that he and Assemblyman Jim Wood (D- Healdsburg) were making good on their promise to “bring the state of California to the North Coast.

“This will be the first time since Prop. 64 took effect on Jan. 1 that the heads of all of the state agencies leading the implementation of cannabis regulations will be together in one room,” said McGuire, explaining that the discussion will be an official joint meeting of the Committee on Governance and Finance held at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center at 6 p.m. March 1.

Check out our updated map showing shops licensed to sell recreational cannabis in California.

After Ukiah Mayor Kevin Doble and Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor Dan Hamburg make opening remarks, testimony will be given by “leaders of state and local agencies, as well as the cannabis industry” in three panels:

• California in a Prop. 64 World: Status Update on Implementation of Rules, Regs, Taxes, Technology and Licenses, featuring Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, and Nicolas Maduros, director of the state department of Tax and Fee Administration.

• Recreational Cannabis and the Readiness of Local Government: Update on Ordinance implementation, Permitting, Compliance and Challenges Ahead, featuring Ignacio Gonzalez, interim director of Mendocino County’s Planning and Building Services department, and Tony Linegar, the former Mendocino County agricultural commissioner and current Sonoma County agricultural commissioner.

• The Green Gold Rush: Will it pan out for California Businesses? Featuring Michael Stenmetz and Michael Wheeler of FlowKana, and Hezekiah Allen, president of the California Growers Association.

McGuire said there will definitely be some growing pains to discuss Thursday in terms of how easy it has been to bring a several-billion-dollar industry “out of the dark and into the light of regulations and permitting” in such a short span of time.

“Since November of 2016 (when Prop. 64 was passed) it has been a whirlwind,” said McGuire, describing the process as “still building the plane while we’re flying it.”

Prior to the hearing at 6 p.m., McGuire said a workshop will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Conference Center on how to get a license to grow and sell cannabis.

“It will be a one-stop shop for anyone with questions on licenses and permits,” he said.


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