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Culture: What Kind of Laws do you Want?

Culture: What Kind of Laws do you Want? By Sean Donahoe 12/29/15 This month Assemblymembers and Senators will return to the Capitol in Sacramento and the legislative process begins anew. In the “last minutes” of the previous legislative session, we saw the passage of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (AB-243/AB-266/SB-643) which was seen by many outside observers as a surprise, with bold language supposedly introduced in the last hours of session. Except that’s not really true, as most of the language had been public for two months and the general stances of stakeholders had been firming up over the previous two years. What I’m saying is, there’s no need to be perplexed or surprised by California’s legislative process, there’s a clear tempo, an order of things, a fairly elaborate cast of characters and certain rules of the game that all parties agree to be governed by. After such a big legislative year last year, and in anticipation already of a few “cleanup” bills that will seek to tweak certain elements, let’s do a bit of a legislative preview.   Continue reading

Culture: Feel the Rush

Culture: Feel the Rush By Sean Donahoe 12/2/15 With new state regulations coming into law next month, and with some sort of a statewide voter initiative on the ballot coming in less than a year from now, the political work has only just begun. Cities and counties are beginning to wrap their heads around the notion of licensing something other than traditional collectives, with manufacturing and cultivation licenses being debated from North to South. Cities that have always resisted allowing collectives are beginning to adopt new ordinances and dip their toes into the water of safe access. Elected officials and staff are beginning to understand that a responsible, professional cannabis industry might actually be a welcome addition to their communities. Continue reading

Culture: The Shortest Year Ever?

Culture: The Shortest Year Ever? By Sean Donahoe 12/4/15 At this time next year, you will be voting to legalize cannabis in California, effectively ending a failed global policy of cannabis prohibition.   Continue reading

Culture: Now What?

California Passes Historic Reform Legislation—Now What? by Sean Donahoe | October 1, 2015 Assembly Bills 243 and 266 and Senate bill 643 will soon be the law of the land here in California, bringing a regulatory framework to California’s thriving medical cannabis system for the first time ever. This legislation was years in the making, with Assembly Members Bonta, Cooley, Jones-Sawyer, Lackey and Wood being joined this year in their efforts by Senator McGuire and even Governor Brown. The bills are undeniably complicated and will roll out their effects over the next two years, setting the table for a legalization effort next year. More importantly, it sets up cities and counties with a set of rules and governance that will empower cities to bring licensed, aboveground brick-and-mortar collectives to their communities. We’ll finally see extractors no longer have to hide underground and no longer see edibles with questionable quality standards. Medical cannabis will be tested. For patients, prices should drop and variety should increase. This is a huge inflection point for California’s cannabis community, a historic handoff from the days of patient activism to the days of industry organizing, and I can’t help but hear Damian Marley’s words: “Now to all my ganja farmer selling pounds of cannabis . . . .That study economy like a real economist.” Continue reading

Culture: Capitol Cannabis Capers

Culture: Capitol Cannabis Capers 9/2/2015 By: Sean Donahoe To be blunt, the state capitol in Sacramento is best understood as a relatively small community of people who all know each other and agree that there are certain rules to the game of politics. Historically, this scene oscillates from rare moments of high drama to more typical patterns of low boredom. But then the cannabis industry showed up to the capitol . . . in the concluding years of a federal war on drugs and just a few short months before the expected economic boom of legalization. Continue reading

Culture: Let's Talk (Cannabis) Taxes

Culture: Let’s Talk (Cannabis) Taxes . . . By Sean Donahoe 8/6/2015 To many voters, acceptance of cannabis policy reform rests on an assumption that money grows on trees, that untold revenues can be magically conjured into existence by simply imposing heavy taxes on medical and (soon) retail cannabis sales here in California. But it’s just not that simple. Continue reading

Culture: A Tale of Two Counties

Culture: A Tale of Two Counties By Sean Donahoe 7/1/2015 As previously discussed in this column, last November’s election results weren’t great for cannabis farmers in Butte, Lake, Nevada and Shasta counties, with cultivation ballot measures going the wrong way. Boards of Supervisors in several counties have passed severely restrictive ordinances this spring, with some of the most interesting political developments happening in Santa Cruz and Yuba counties. These vastly different counties show the diversity of geography, governance and activism found in Northern California, and others around the state could learn a few lessons.   Continue reading

Culture: Always Be Hustlin'

Culture: Always Be Hustlin’ By Sean Donahoe 6/1/2015 Across the state and in our Capitol, the cannabis movement is on the roll in California. Two months ago, Assembly Bill 243 was heard in the Agriculture Committee, a historic move that hasn’t been fully appreciated. Within the committee hearing room, three dozen cannabis farmers representing Emerald Growers Association, California Cannabis Voice Humboldt and other organizations were there to support a sensible, agriculture-based approach for regulating the cultivation of medical cannabis. Outside in the corridors there were several dozen more farmers and supporters, gathered around a television set that Capitol staff had to set up to display the hearings. There was profound strength in this group—all wearing matching green t-shirts with statements like “I am a farmer” or “I [heart] a farmer” on the fronts and their respective organizational logo and “#sameteam” on the back. Continue reading

Culture: All (Cannabis) Politics Is Local

All (Cannabis) Politics Is Local By Sean Donahoe 5/1/2015   Continue reading

Culture: Stand Together, United

Stand Together, United By Sean Donahoe 4/1/15 Continue reading

Spoke on Lanny's Podcast Recently

For those folks not already following, the inspiring Lanny Swerdlow, leader of the growing Brownie Mary Democratic Club movement here in California, also has a great weekly podcast. On last week's show, I spoke about current legislative affairs and the path towards legalization in 2016. Also appearing on the podcast is President Yami Bolanos of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance speaking about AB 258.

Speaking at SSDP Conference

For those in Southern California, or for people already planning on attending the SSDP Pacific Regional Conference, I will be speaking on a panel entitled "Learning from Measures in the Past" with Diane Goldstein, Doug Lanphere, Sam Chapman, Sean Donahoe, Dale Gieringer. See you there?

Culture: California Cannabis Laws are Changing

  California Cannabis Laws are Changing By Sean Donahoe 3/4/15 Cannabis laws in California may soon change—and I’m not talking about the 2016 statewide measure. Every day in our state Capitol, 120 legislators, thousands of staffers, and many more consultants and lobbyists have conversations and make decisions that will affect medical cannabis consumers across the state. Continue reading

Weedclub "Igloo" Interview

After a long two days at the International Cannabis Business Conference, I stepped aside from the Women GROW event to chat with Evan Horowitz, founder of Weedclub. Enjoy! Continue reading

Culture: Love and Politics

Love and Politics By Sean Donahoe 2/4/15  February revolves around a celebration of lust, love and relationships, respective to our romantic status when the big V-Day rolls around. We dwell on the best things in life, that which warms our hearts and nurtures our souls, during the depths of winter. While many lust for a glistening nug or brilliant shatter, many have relationships with a favorite strain or an always-helpful budtender, let's reflect this month on the importance of love and how it relates to the politics of cannabis reform. Continue reading

CCPR Oakland Jan 9

On January 9th, 2015 the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform held a "Post-Mortem Conference" at the Waterfront Hotel with a great set of speakers. View below:

CCIA Announces Resignation

CCIA would to give many thanks and warmest wishes to our outgoing CCIA Deputy Director Sean Donahoe  The California Cannabis Industry Association regretfully announces the resignation of our Deputy Director, Sean Donahoe, who has moved on to pursue other professional opportunities. The entire Board and staff owe a debt of gratitude to Sean for his selfless service and contributions to this organization. Since Sean joined the staff in January 2013, CCIA has quickly become the leading trade association representing the cannabis industry in the halls of our state capitol--this is due in no small part to Sean’s work. Sean has tirelessly traveled this state promoting our organization and the interests of our industry. As a result, Sean leaves this organization in the strongest position it has ever been. Of all of Sean's colleagues, perhaps no one knows his many contributions better than our Executive Director Nate Bradley. "Sean and I spent 7 days a week for a year straight building CCIA. Sean astutely guided CCIA through Sacramento 'capitol society' in a way that allowed us to position our industry as responsible and credible stakeholders in crafting sensible and sustainable medical cannabis regulations--CCIA would not be what it is today without his work over the last two years," said Nate. Thank you, Sean, and best wishes in all your pursuits in the drug policy reform movement and beyond.

Great Video from ArcView

Great video from Forbes about the ArcView investor conference here in San Francisco - it was a polished event, engaging and the networking was stellar. Watch! Continue reading

Culture: Pre-Legalization State

Pre-Legalization State By Sean Donahoe 12/30/2014 California is about to enter a weird state of existence. No, seriously—weirder than usual. Between now and November 8, 2016 the legalization of cannabis for adults will be an unmistakable part of everyday conversations around the state. California is known as the place where the future is constantly being invented, where ideas and policies are crafted, attempted, tweaked, and then fulfilled (or not) through the sheer diversity and energy of peoples that have been drawn to our Golden State. Often these shifts are simultaneously social, cultural, and economic in nature—look at Hollywood, the suburbs, the Internet, and (most interestingly) the cannabis industry. While four states have already legalized cannabis before California, let there be no doubt that the underlying professionalism found within the emerging global cannabis industry has as its backbone the artistry, risk taking, and respect for the plant that Californians cannabis devotees and farmers have demonstrated over the last 40+ years. Continue reading

Culture: The More Things Change . . . Cannabis and Politics in 2014

The More Things Change . . . Cannabis and Politics in 2014 By Sean Donahoe 12/04/2014 Last year started with breathy excitement from Colorado, with national network clips of eager customers lining up in the snow to buy legal weed. The beginning of adult-use sales in Colorado and Washington this year was followed by articles on reduced crime, increased revenues, booming economies, innovative new cannabis products and services, and thousands upon thousands of happy cannabis consumers. At the federal level we saw gradual progress on banking reform for the legal cannabis industry with guidance by the US Treasury Department’s FINCEN and a dramatic one vote passage of the Farr-Rohrabacher amendment which called for the DEA respecting state cannabis laws. Continue reading

Orange County Event: Harmonizing Marijuana Legalization with Environmental, Land Use, and Other Regulations

  The Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources (CLEANR) and Brown Rudnick LLP present     Harmonizing Marijuana Legalization with Environmental, Land Use, and Other RegulationsAnnual Fall Symposiumon Emerging Issues in Environmental Law Practice Continue reading

Record Searchlight: Redding forum on pot garden ban

Redding forum on pot garden ban 10/14/2014 REDDING, California - Opponents of a ban on outdoor marijuana cultivation are holding a forum this evening in Redding. Continue reading

Culture: If Cannabis is Your Industry, then Your Business is Politics

If Cannabis is Your Industry, then Your Business is Politics By Sean Donahoe 10/2/2014 Since Colorado’s adult use market began on January 1, there hasn’t been a more controversial policy subject than edibles, and after the now infamous column by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, this has essentially become a national conversation. The simple fact is that edibles and other categories of cannabis-infused products have become some of the most popular means for responsible adults to discreetly medicate. For decades, a cellophane-wrapped, home-baked brownie of questionable quality and unknown potency scored in a hasty exchange in parking lots before big concerts was the extent of the “industry” that was producing edibles. Continue reading

MMJ Business Daily: With Rec on Horizon, California Under the Gun to Establish Medical Marijuana Regulations

With Rec on Horizon, California Under the Gun to Establish Medical Marijuana Regulations 9/29/2014 It ain’t over till it’s over. The California Legislature has tried and failed for three years running to pass a law setting up statewide regulations on the medical marijuana industry, but lawmakers haven’t thrown up their hands in despair just yet. Continue reading

Culture: Isn’t it legal already?

Isn’t it legal already? By Sean Donahoe 9/4/2014 You hear this phrase often enough from both cannabis consumers and everyday Californians: “Isn’t it legal already?” Sadly, California’s laws have not caught up with our public opinion. Although we all benefit from a vibrant and innovative cannabis market here in California, until we pass either (good) statewide regulations for medical cannabis or full, adult use legalization in 2016 – this could all vanish in a flash. Continue reading

Bay Area Event: The Growing Business of Cannabis

The Growing Business of Cannabis 7/16/2014 Cannabis as a Business Opportunity: Policy, Regulation, Financing and Markets With recent changes legalizing cannabis in states such as Colorado and more liberal medical laws on medical dispensaries in California,the industry of cultivating and selling marijuana is making a shift from illegal into legal business activities. Learn about business and market opportunities for this emerging industry for cannabis. Continue reading

SJ Mercury News: San Jose marijuana ordinance puts the squeeze on dispensaries

San Jose marijuana ordinance puts the squeeze on dispensaries 6/26/2014 San Jose dove deeper into a running national debate on how to effectively regulate the marijuana industry when it passed an ordinance restricting marijuana dispensary locations, implementing additional security measures, and mandating that marijuana be grown locally. Most city councilmembers believe the ordinance will cut down on marijuana-related crime and marijuana sales to underage people. Opponents, though, do not believe the ordinance provides a workable solution. "This is a de facto ban," said Sean Donahoe, deputy director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. "We are looking for a workable ordinance to end the gray area. A workable ordinance is not a de facto ban." Continue reading

Huffington Post: California's Third-Largest City Just Cracked Down On Pot Shops, And It's Part Of A Larger Problem

California's Third-Largest City Just Cracked Down On Pot Shops, And It's Part Of A Larger Problem 6/13/2014 After months of debate, lawmakers in San Jose, California, have passed an ordinance that imposes strict new rules on medical marijuana businesses within the city -- so strict, in fact, that some advocates have called the move a de facto ban. And the fight that's now brewing underscores a larger problem facing states that have legalized pot for medicinal use, but have yet to establish adequate regulations to govern the industry. Continue reading

Medical Jane: The Tale Of Two Bills

The Tale Of Two Bills: SB 1262 And AB1894 Look To Regulate California Cannabis Industry 5/26/2014 Two bills out of California attempt to regulate the medical marijuana industry – a trade that has been referred to as the “Wild West” of its time. Many cannabis businesses in California have gone, since the start, without a benchmark or standard to follow, nor a regulatory agency to oversee performance. Continue reading

New Times: Yabba dabba do(n't): An uncertain future and a legal gray area shade the growing trend of cannabis concentrates

Yabba dabba do(n't): An uncertain future and a legal gray area shade the growing trend of cannabis concentrates 5/21/2014 Sunday, April 27, was like any other spring day in San Luis Obispo. The breeze blew through the trees, and the weather lingered in that pleasantly mild zone that so often settles on this part of the coast. At 2:15 in the afternoon, personnel from the San Luis Obispo Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire in the neighborhood of Stoneridge Drive, where southwestern adobe-style houses dot the hillside. When firefighters arrived, they found flames in the residence’s garage, apparently generating from a square glass baking dish holding a gooey, resiny substance. Once they’d spotted the telltale canisters of butane, they notified police. Officers eventually secured a warrant and entered the premises. They’ve since reported discovering that the two men present had been in the middle of making concentrated cannabis, or hash oil, and that one of the men was grinding a metal pipe in the garage, sending sparks flying and setting the makeshift lab on fire. Luckily, the flames triggered a sprinkler system in the garage, which limited the damage, said SLO Fire Marshall Rodger Maggio.   Continue reading

Webinar: California Legislative Update, May 2014

Get the latest update on California's cannabis industry. California Cannabis Industry Association's Nate Bradley, Executive Director, and Sean Donahoe, Deputy Director give an overview of legislative timelines, recent bills and expected outcomes of various cannabis efforts. Learn about the recent formation of three political action committees that will further a strategy of providing political resources to candidates and measures that support the goals of reasonable legislation and regulations for the responsible cannabis industry in California. Continue reading

USA Today: At pot convention, business is strong — and potent

At pot convention, business is strong — and potent 2/9/2014 The booming marijuana industry attracts enthusiasts and entrepreneurs Working from a small booth on the fringes of a trade show packed with thousands of enthusiasts, Sean Donahoe says these are heady times to be in the marijuana business. "In a gold rush, you sell picks and shovels,'' says Donahoe, deputy director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. The young organization is trying to become in effect the Chamber of Commerce of the marijuana business in the nation's largest state. Continue reading

MMJ Business Daily: Frustration Mounts in Los Angeles as Illegal Dispensaries Defy Prop D

Frustration Mounts in Los Angeles as Illegal Dispensaries Defy Prop D 1/22/2014 When Los Angeles passed a measure banning most dispensaries in the city last spring, the few MMJ centers allowed to remain open expected to see rapid growth, increased pricing power and a more stable business climate. But none of the expected benefits of the new law – called Proposition D – have materialized. If anything, these dispensaries are in a worse position than before the measure passed. Continue reading

Sacramento Bee: Cannabis industry poised to become Capitol power player

Dan Morain: Cannabis industry poised to become Capitol power player 1/19/2014 Nearly all the power players showed up at the Citizen Hotel a few months ago, seizing the opportunity to give legislative candidates an early indoctrination into the ways of the Capitol. Bankers, Realtors, doctors, casino operators, labor, alcohol and the insurance industry sponsored the daylong Leadership California Institute session. Oh, and the California Cannabis Industry Association was there, too. “We are happy to report that CCIA was received with open arms,” the organization said in an email to its supporters after the event. “Almost every attendee made an attempt to come speak with us during the day, including the 30+ legislative candidates.” Continue reading