Meet 20 Sonoma County residents advising lawmakers on cannabis’ future

A group of 20 Sonoma County residents — some well-known, others who’ve rarely (if ever) seen the limelight —  have been chosen to represent a wide swath of interests in the local green rush. 

Working with County Supervisors, the Sonoma County Cannabis Advisory Group was recently formed to provide “a diverse perspective on the impacts of cannabis and cannabis regulations and to provide information and feedback to the County for developing, amending, and funding local cannabis programs and policies.” (See more)

Why should you care? Because whether you’re a frustrated homeowner, a dispensary owner, a concerned parent, grower, business owner, advocate for justice or just canna-curious, hopefully there’s someone in this newly-formed advisory group to represent your interests to lawmakers.

Selected from more than 100 applicants, the group includes a doctor, two lawyers, real estate broker, homeowner associations and traditional agricultural, along with people intimately involved with the cannabis business who can provide context to a general public still sorting out their opinions about what commercial marijuana will look like at the Gateway to the Emerald Triangle. Though laws have already been written at the county level, a quickly changing landscape and state laws will require local lawmakers to stay nimble and flexible.

According to county organizers, applicants were identified by supervisorial district and organized to include voices from neighborhood and community leaders, health and human services providers, and educators along with business interests both inside and outside the cannabis world.  Applications were reviewed by staff and the Ad Hoc Committee, and further input was gathered from the Marijuana Technical Advisory Committee to recommend a group of individuals with a broad range of expertise and mixed geographic.

The group will decide its own agenda, but likely topics will include permitting, land use policies, enforcement, impacts and mitigation programs, tax policy and revenue expenditure. Members may be asked to assist with gathering data and input from their communities, reading research materials, and reviewing and providing feedback on documents. Serving on the committee is a two year uncompensated commitment, meeting monthly.

The group is advisory only, and will serve as a weathervane for the larger community as well as experts on the needs of their individual coalitions. Other county advisory groups for cannabis include the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee formed by the Board of Supervisors, with Supervisors Susan Gorin and Lynda Hopkins appointed to serve on the committee. The Marijuana Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC), includes representatives from numerous County departments and agencies and their input.

The first meeting of the Sonoma County Cannabis Advisory Group is August 16th from 10:30a.m. to 12:30p.m.

Sonoma County Cannabis Advisory Group Members

Tawnie Logan

Tawnie Logan

Tawnie Logan
Board Chair, Sonoma County Growers Alliance
Representing: Industry/Cultivation
District 4

Alexa Garcia

Alexa Garcia
Owner/CEO, Luma California
Representing: Cultivation
District 4&2

Sam Edwards

Sam Edwards

Samual Edwards
Owner/Operator, Cultura Crop Management
Representing: Cultivation, Manufacturing
District 4

Brandon Levine

Brandon Levine

Brandon Levine

Mercy Wellness
Representing: Dispensary
District 2

Lauren Fraser

Lauren Fraser

Lauren Fraser
Founding Director, Cannabis Distribution Association
President & Co-Founder, River Collective
Representing: District 4

Jay Jensen

Jay Jensen

Jay Jensen
Novavine Grapevine Nursery
Representing: Nursery/traditional agriculture
District 1

Julie Mercer Ingram

Julie Mercer-Ingram
Attorney, Canna Legal / Beck Law
Representing: Legal
District 3

Omar-Figueroa

Omar Figueroa

Omar Figueroa
Principal/Attorney, Law Offices of Omar Figueroa
Representing: Legal
District 5

Arthur Deike

Arthur Deicke
Owner/Manager, Environmental Pollution Solutions LLC (environmental consulting)
Representing: Environmental Consulting
District 5

paula_blaydes

Paula Blaydes

Paula Blaydes
Principal/Owner, Blaydes & Associates
Representing: Consulting
District 1

Dave Petersen

Dave Peterson
Keegan & Coppin Company, Inc.
Representing: Real estate
District 3

Terry Garrett

Terry Garrett
Managing Member, Sonoma County GO LOCAL
Representing: Media/local economy
District 3

Erin Lund

Erin Lund
Family Physician, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers
Representing: Health
District 3

Steve Nielsen

Steve Nielsen
School-Court Liaison, Sonoma County Office of Education
Representing: Education
District 3

Julie Terry
Owner/Operator, West County Pride
Representing: Cottage Cultivation
District 5

Katherine Dowdney
Co-owner, Earthen Farms
Representing: Cultivation
District 5

Richard Gunderson
Willowside Homeowners Association
Representing: Neighborhoods
District 4

S Brantly Richardson
Santa Rosa Neighborhood Groups
Representing: Neighborhoods
District 1

Sarah Shrader
Chair, Sonoma County Americans for Safe Access
Representing: Patients
District 5

Shivawn Brady
Director of Operations, Justice Grown
Field Research Assistant, Stanford University
Representing: Consulting
District 1

  • Ron Supwood

    So they’re all stoners and those that want to make money off them. No problem knowing what their advice will be.

  • Bruce Espinosa

    It’s Clear that Cancer patients and other true medical cases have been “USED as Pawns” to facilitate recreational pot use. The recreational users could care less about the crime and murders that have resulted from marijuana cultivation and grows. If truly a medical need then why is the murders not considered over the comfort that is created for cancer patients. It loses the medical benefits if people die at the hands of thugs. The majority of users falsely acquired medical cards to gain access for recreational use. Doctors participated in issuing “Fake Access Cards” to these. users. These “Fake” users used the medical bleeding Compassionate Use excuse to be high. They are not disabled and do not suffer from any medical need. They are just “Pot Heads ” getting high. On the grow issue homeowners are renting to “Pot Heads” and their homes are destroyed and Electrical theft is passed on to rate customers. Pollution to waterways is ignored. and the Eco system is destroyed. Does anyone really believe that taxes will be collected? Hell No ! These Grows will be stuffed in our forests to elude detection and financial responsibility. Our law enforcement will be flanked with home invasion and strong armed robbery. What a stupid way for California to receive tax dollars. Legalizd pot is the beginning of a failed state. The murder rate will increase.

    • Beaumarino

      As Ed McMahon would often say to Johnny Carson, You are correct sir!

  • Pauly

    Have you ever watched the type of people walking in and out of dispensaries? They sure don’t look sick to me. Pot head busters and their group/community of supporters. By the way, your still a criminal according to Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811). Get high on life, you don’t need that crap to be happy.

    • cindy

      its about medicine, not getting high. maybe you should talk to the people you mentioned that you see using a dispensary. You might be surprised & not so quick to judge once you asked a few of these people why they are there at the dispensary & found out they suffer from something ranging from problems with eating/sleeping all the way to cancer patients.Maybe you ought to try cannabis. It might bring you into your heart instead of judgement you might feel compassion for the first
      time in your life

  • On behalf of local providers and advocates who address the many needs of children and their families, I am very disappointed that no members were selected that can speak to the potential serious negative impacts of legalization specifically on young children. Other counties (Mendocino, Santa Cruz) have recognized this critical connection and are actively ensuring that policies reflect a commitment to protect young children from impacts, but Sonoma County is behind the curve on this.
    The window of time from prenatal to age five is critical to a child’s socio-emotional, physical and cognitive development. In fact, 90% of the brain’s architecture is developed by the time a child is five which sets a trajectory for the rest of their lives, including long term health and education outcomes.
    The impact of marijuana on young children is rapidly becoming well documented by recent research and data from legalization in other states (particularly Colorado). There is also a growing body of local anecdotal data. Second-hand smoke and vapor, access to edible products, parents under the influence and other contributors lead to impacts such as impeded brain development, toxic reactions requiring hospitalization and even resulting in death, and disengaged and neglectful caregiving, among other impacts.
    I do strongly encourage Dr. Lund to represent this perspective as a health professional as the group moves through discussions that will form the advisory content to the Board of Supervisors and the community. Children are often left out of the discussion when government convenes public groups to discuss impact of changes in community infrastructure, largely because they cannot speak for themselves. I urge the Advisory Group to consider the impact of local marijuana policy on Sonoma County’s youngest residents.
    Local experts in child development would be happy to share information or present to the group to ensure that this critical consideration is included in the group’s discussion of advice to the County. Please feel free to contact me at any time, as I am quite willing to serve as a liaison with our local experts and to serve as a resource to the process.
    Sincerely, Angie Dillon-Shore, Executive Director, First 5 Sonoma County

    • Heather Irwin

      Glad you spoke up, Angie. I’ve forwarded your note to Tim Ricard.