First meeting set for marijuana panel
Nevada County supervisors on Tuesday, April 25, set a timetable for the creation of its community advisory group, a marijuana panel scheduled to meet May 23 for the first time.
The deadline to apply to the advisory group is 5 p.m. on May 2. MIG, Inc., the county’s marijuana facilitator, will review the submitted applications that week. Supervisors on May 9 will receive recommendations listing who should serve on that panel and then vote on the group’s membership.
“The key word is ‘balance,’ ‘representation,’” said Daniel Iacofano, principal and CEO of MIG. “County residency is a key requirement.”
According to Sean Powers, director of the county’s Community Development Agency, his office has received 10 applications. The county wants 10 to 14 people to serve on the advisory panel that will craft recommendations for a permanent cannabis grow ordinance.
Officials want the new ordinance in place by the 2018 grow season. They expect the advisory group will take several months to craft its recommendations, delivering them to supervisors before this year ends.
Supervisors have said they want a variety of people to serve on the community advisory group. The application asks people for references, experience on committees and expertise. Categories of expertise include cultivator, public health and religious or faith-based, among others.
Supervisors on April 25 added three more categories: homeowner organizations, property owners and those with agricultural interests.
Supervisor Heidi Hall questioned the “faith-based” category, wondering how the panel would balance those of different faiths.
“How do you have one faith-based perspective and not another?” Hall asked.
Supervisor Hank Weston said he had no issue with the category. Supervisor Dan Miller added that many people from various industries have faith.
“They want a voice,” Miller said.
Miller also questioned why the application failed to ask people about any criminal history they may have. Powers said it wasn’t included as criteria, with County Counsel Alison Barrett-Green adding that MIG would evaluate applicant integrity.
“We would encourage people to put their best foot forward and be honest,” she said.
Officials have said the advisory panel would hold eight meetings, the last two of which would be closed to the public.
Noting what he called “push back,” Miller asked if MIG still intended to shutter those meetings. Iacofano confirmed the decision to close them, a move Weston endorsed.
According to Weston, the panel needs to work privately in its last two meetings, where it will write the grow ordinance recommendations.
“You cannot write recommendations out in the open,” Weston said. “You can’t do it. Staff doesn’t do it. This CAG shouldn’t do it.”