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Medical Marijuana Taskforce presents findings at council meeting 

–At its Tuesday night meeting, the Paso Robles City Council received and filed a report compiled by a seven member taskforce.

In 2015, three state laws, known collectively as the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, and more recent legislation, provided a framework for future regulation of medical cannabis.

At the direction of the Paso Robles City Manager, a seven-person Medical Marijuana Taskforce met six times between September of 2016 and February of 2017 and sought to answer the question, “How will Medical Marijuana influence Paso Robles by the year 2027?” The Taskforce used futures-oriented research methodology to direct discussion, research, and reporting.

The taskforce members were:

Chris Bausch: Bausch is a Paso Robles resident, local real estate agent, school district board trustee, and a member of the Paso Robles Main Street Association.

Heather Mikelonis: Mikelonis is a Paso Robles resident and the Operational Manager for Baker Wine & Grape Analysis. Ms. Mikelonis holds a Master’s Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Indiana University.

Charles “Chip” Tamagni: Tamagni is a Paso Robles resident, an ISA certified arborist, and the owner of A&T Arborists. He is a former cannabis delivery collective owner and expert cultivator. Mr. Tamagni holds a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Management and Policy from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Donna Kelley: Kelley is a Paso Robles resident and the founder/director of the Kayla Peach Memorial Foundation. Kayla Peach Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose Mission is to bring awareness and education to communities, schools, parents and youth about addiction and substance abuse.

Paul Press: Press is the Director of Student Services for the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District overseeing student welfare, homelessness, and foster services. He also serves on the board of directors for Lifestyles Recovery; a 501c(3) non-profit corporation that provides group sessions and individual counseling to individuals who are dealing with the problems of drug and alcohol addiction, HIV prevention and anger management.

Shawn Sherman: Sherman is the owner of Golden Apple Cannabis, a local boutique medical marijuana collective and delivery service. He is involved with numerous local cannabis industry organizations such as SLO NORML, SLO Cannabis Collaborative, the North County Chapter of the California Growers Alliance, and the Central Coast Cannabis Council.

Brian Eddy: Eddy is a Paso Robles resident with vast experience from both inside and outside the cannabis industry. He has been directly involved with substance abuse recovery programs for 28 years. He currently holds a position with the Atascadero State Hospital as a substance abuse advisor; he has experience working with populations with mental illness and substance abuse challenges.

The taskforce focused on identifying trends, events, and potential futures to help local officials better understand the community’s needs, tolerances, and concerns. The goal of the taskforce was to identify and provide local policy makers with accurate information; better equipping them to design comprehensive polices representative of the entire community.

The taskforce examined key social, technological, economic, environmental, and political aspects of the topic to create alternative futures. The taskforce avoided focusing solely on immediate challenges by distinguishing present day issues from potential alternative issues of the futures. This allowed the taskforce to better visualize opportunities and threats related to the potential emergence of the medical marijuana industry within Paso Robles. The taskforce articulated these alternate futures via the use of scenarios; the scenarios assisted the taskforce with identifying factors potentially affecting community acceptance and policy development.

Key findings of the taskforce’s research revealed:

  • Protecting the community’s youth should be an overarching goal of local medical marijuana regulation.
  • Taxation related to medical marijuana should support public education, public safety, and quality of life initiatives.
  • Cannabis industry advocates desire well-formulated and fair local regulations consistent with voter will.
  • Poor, or no policy, could have adverse effects, possibly contributing to an increase in an illegal black market and restricting state tax revenue.
  • Cultivation, delivery, and manufacturing regulation should be significant considerations for policy development.
  • Local policies should favor locally owned and operated business.
  • Local cannabis professionals, along with drug awareness advocates, public safety officials, and educators should be included in future policy development.

 

Their findings explored potentials from decreased domestic and social violence, use of tax collection, and impact on youth and high school graduation rates.

The city council accepted and filed the report.

To view the complete report, click here. 

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.

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