Meet the Community Advisory Group, or CAG

Get used to the word CAG, as phonetically unattractive as it may be.

The members of the CAG, short for Community Advisory Group, are the people who will be helping to write a new cannabis cultivation ordinance.

The group will meet June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25, Aug 8 and 22 and Sep 12. All but the last two meetings are open to the public. Watch the meetings live HERE. Please consider submitting your comments to

Here is the list of CAG members, you can review their applications HERE and click on “Applicants Recommended for the CAG”.

Jonathan Collier, Nevada City, District 1. Collier is a board member of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance. He is on the board of directors of the California Growers Association’s Sierra Foothills Region. He has been in the frontlines for responsible cannabis policy since Measure S was defeated in 2015. He is also a board member of the Briar Patch Co-op and the Nevada County Arts Council.

Catherine Peterson, Penn Valley. District 4: Peterson has spent 42 years as an educator and family services specialist with the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

Tom Cross, Penn Valley, District 4. Cross is former president of the Lake Wildwood Association. He has volunteered for a number of organizations since retiring in 1997.

Mark Schaefer, Penn Valley, District 4: Schaefer is also a board member of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance. Schaefer spearheaded the committee behind the campaign known as No on Measure W, which won my a large margin in June 2016. He is a cultivator for a collective of patients with HIV/AIDS.

Robert Erickson, Grass Valley, District 3. Erickson is the former Behavioral Health Director for Nevada County. He retired in 2006. He’s also served three terms in the Nevada County Civil Grand Jury and as president of the now defunct Computer Learning Center.

Leland French, Grass Valley, District 2: French is past president of the Alta Sierra Homeowners Association Property Owners Association. He is also a neighborhood watch coordinator.

Matthew Shapero, Nevada City, District 1: Shapero works in the agricultural community working with the county’s largest direct-to-consumer grass-fed beef producer. He is also a part time manager for the Bear Yuba Land Trust.

Pamela Swartz, Nevada City, District 5: Swartz is a homeowner in an area of the county with multiple cultivation sites. She is self-employed and works from on on Ninja Skincare, a company that specializes in treating acne using topical medications only.

Forrest Hurd, Penn Valley, District 4: Hurd is a patient advocate. He is founder and director of the Caladrius Network, a nonprofit organization that provides a setting where families of catastrophically ill children may learn about potential cannabis medicine options.  He also hosts the Cannabis Crusades radio show on KVMR.

Erin Tarr, Grass Valley, District 3: Tarr is the Stewardship Director for the Bear Yuba Land Trust. She has experience in land acquisition, conservation easements and neighbor relations in Nevada County.

Michael Mastrodonato, Penn Valley, District 4: Mastrodonato is the president of the Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. He is also the owner of Penn Valley Mini Storage.

Sharyn Turner, Grass Valley, District 1: Turner is a Health Education Specialist, and a credentialed school nurse. She has experience in health education prevention and intervention for youth in Western Nevada County. She is a member of the Coalition for a Drug-free Nevada County.

Rosemary Metrailer, Nevada City, District 1: Metrailer is an attorney who has operated her own law firm since 1981. She is also a minority partner in an environmental consulting firm. She is featured in the documentary “Legends of Courage” for her work as an attorney in the Sacramento area. She successfully sued Rev. Jerry Falwell in the 1980s for breach of contract.

Debra Weistar, Nevada City, District 4: Weistar sits on the board of directors of the South Yuba River Citizens Leage, or SYRCL. She is part of the “Growing Green for the Yuba” committee and has lived in the San Juan Ridge for over 30 years.

Added later:

Don Besse, Grass Valley, District 2. Besse executive director for the Northern California Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-cannabis organization. SAM approach to cannabis policy precludes relying “only on the criminal justice system to address people whose only crime is smoking or possessing a small amount of marijuana” and the group calls for small-time possession to be decriminalized, but “subject to a mandatory health screening an marijuana-education program.” The SAM version of decrim also includes referrals to treatment “if needed” and probation for up to a year “to prevent further drug use.”

Rich Johansen, Penn Valley, District 4: Johansen is a member of the Nevada County Agricultural Advisory Commission. He represents the Ag community on the panel. He is owner of the Johansen Ranch in Penn Valley, where he and his family grow winter squash, melons, vegetables and medicinal herbs.