The Alliance: Revolutionary Change in the Community

The Nevada County Cannabis Alliance is less than five months old. It was started by a group of volunteers from the California Growers Association and the No on W Committee who wanted to join forces. I know that when starting a new business, they say to expect no profits in the first year or even two. I don’t know what we should expect from an organization like the Alliance in its first five months.

I have heard rumblings that some of our members and others in the cannabis community are concerned whether the Alliance is doing more than just garnering membership. Trust me, we are.

Our work may not be in the form of a revolution, but what we are doing is revolutionary. We are building relationships, building trust and breaking down barriers. Our work has been quiet but effective.

Our board members and staff have met with County Supervisors, County Council, the Community Development Agency, the County CEO, the Economic Resource Council, representatives from CORR and SYRCL, Superintendents of Schools, Principals, NID, Grass Valley Police Department, Nevada City Police Department, Grass Valley City Council, Nevada City Council and Truckee officials.

We are collaborating with community leaders to craft cannabis policy that will address the needs that are unique to Nevada County, while creating a path for viable commercial cannabis businesses, while protecting small farmers.

We have been very involved in advocating for the adoption of a dispensary ordinance for Nevada City as well as monitoring developments in Truckee and Grass Valley.

A small group of dedicated members  have met weekly for several months to fashion permanent cultivation ordinance recommendations. These recommendations are being presented to our members and community stakeholders for input.

We put out a Request for Proposals for an Economic Impact Study and are exploring options to best grasp the economic vitality, including job growth, of the cannabis industry in Nevada County. We are partnering with other agencies in the county to fund and complete the study.

We created and submitted proposals for changes to the existing placeholder ordinance and have lobbied county officials in an effort to get these changes before the 2017 spring planting season.

We have initiated the start of a monthly workshops series designed to help cannabis businesses  prepare for the future. We are excited to provide this offering of experts, regulatory analysts and business leaders to our cannabis community.  

All of this work has a common theme – we are changing attitudes and shifting  minds. In a recent Alta Sierra posting, Ed Scofield was quoted as saying, “Creating a new and more permanent ordinance has become larger than a couple of Supervisors working with our Sheriff, Counsel, Growers and neighborhood representatives,” he said. “I believe we need to be creating a task force that not only has those previously mentioned groups represented, but also includes other key bodies such as Environmental Health, Agricultural Commission, Building and Planning, Finance, Fish and Game, the District Attorney and any other agency or group that has an interest in the legitimate growing of medical or recreational cannabis.”

I invite you to come into our office to see the staff hard at work building an organization from scratch. You will also likely run into one of our dedicated volunteers who are sacrificing their time and energy to help make a difference. We can always use more people who are willing to dedicate themselves to see projects through to the end.

The bottom line is that I feel very confident that we are doing the best job for you that we can with the resources we have available.

We have chosen the path of working cooperatively and we see progress.  If our strategy has to change in the future, we are preparing for that possibility.

Hang in there with us. If you would like to see a thriving cannabis industry in Nevada County that protects small farmers and is a thriving economic force for our area, please unite with us and consider becoming a member. We are grateful to all of our members who have joined the fight.  Maintain a spirit of cooperation with your neighbors and help us present a face of responsible, considerate, and savvy business people.

I hope to see you in the office or at one of our events soon.

Mark Schaefer

Alliance Executive Committee Member