Squaw Valley hosts Cannabis Summit | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley hosts Cannabis Summit

Amanda Rhoades
A marijuana plant grown in Mendocino County, Calif.
Photo courtesy of Amanda LeClair |

Trainwreck, Gravedigger, Grandaddy Purple and Skunk Dawg are only a few of the many different kinds of marijuana strains that will be sold for recreational use in California beginning in January 2018.

But that doesn’t mean all of the details have been determined.

Local policymakers, educators and marijuana advocates convened on Friday, May 12, for the Northern California Cannabis Summit held in the Village at Squaw Valley. The goal was to understand how to prevent children from using marijuana now that the drug has been made legal for recreational use in California.

Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Shannon Moon said during her time as a detective on the Narcotics Task Force, she came to learn how violent people can become over drugs and the money associated with narcotics.

Medical marijuana use has been legal in California since 1996, but the state became one of the latest to approve the drug for recreational use with the passage of Proposition 64 in November.

The new law leaves much for local governments to decide, like whether retail shops selling cannabis will be allowed within their jurisdiction, and if it’s legal to grow marijuana outside. But it does allow people age 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce and to grow six plants inside their homes.

Attorney Chris Halsor spoke about the legal framework of recreational marijuana and the challenges that the state of Colorado has experienced since voters there legalized the drug in 2012.

“Cannabis clubs are the next phase,” he said.

Halsor explained that although many voters may be pleased that they are now allowed to consume cannabis recreationally in their homes, he said it is likely the next thing communities will see is a push for cannabis clubs, or public places people can go together similar to a bar or tap room.

“Cannabis advocates will say, ‘Treat it like alcohol,” he said.

Halsor said he founded his company, Understanding Marijuana LLC in Golden, Colo., to provide training and consultation services to policymakers and law enforcement officers to help them understand the complexities of legal marijuana.

Many of those complexities, he said, can already been seen.

He said that edibles pose a unique challenge since their strength is not widely understood and people are expected to consume more of edible product than is recommended, in shorter period of time than they are intended to be used.

Another example, he said, is that equal protection issues may arise when two adjacent counties choose different approaches to Prop. 64.

Halsor and other speakers emphasized to the importance of improving our understanding how marijuana affects the body, and recognizing that there are still many details that still need to be figured out, but there was no clear approach stated for how to make sure that children are taught healthy habits.

Amanda Rhoades is a news, environment and business reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at arhoades@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @akrhoades.

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