VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: The Future of Cannabis in the Central Valley


May 27, 2020 at 1:30 PM PST

Fresno, CA (Virtual)

Central Valley Cannabis Advocates and Business Owners Discuss The Future of Cannabis in The Central Valley in Live Virtual Panel

Local And State Officials Believe That The Cannabis Marketplace Will Play An Important Role In Addressing City Budget Deficits

You can view the recording of the event HERE

As local governments across the Central Valley brace for unprecedented shortfalls in budget revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the region’s most influential voices offer fixes to the cannabis market that could play a major role in recouping some of that lost revenue. California State Treasurer Fiona Ma recently joined legislative advocates, equity business owners and Central Valley stakeholders to air out concerns about equity in the cannabis marketplace, and regulations and taxes hampering the cannabis industry in the Central Valley.

“I have always encouraged local governments to embrace this industry because it is additional tax revenue for their local government that they are foregoing to some other jurisdiction,” said California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. “Cannabis is one of the largest economic drivers here in the State of California–it creates jobs. The cannabis industry could provide potential tax revenue for local jurisdictions that could be a game changer, especially right now.”

“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the cannabis industry, and cannabis being classified as essential, is a testament to the significant changes in public sentiment of cannabis,” said Cedric Haynes, director of public policy and partnerships at Weedmaps. “The perception continues to change and it’s just another testament to the legitimacy of cannabis as a medicine and as a potential economic driver.”

“Fresno and the city government are going to have to face very extensive cuts over the next twelve months or so,” said former Fresno city councilmember Clint Olivier. “I think cannabis revenue would be a great way to hang on to some of those vital services that they’re going to have to make cuts to.

California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce president and CEO Julian Canete emphasized the importance of increasing the representation of people of color within the cannabis marketplace, “We have great concern about equity programs, and making sure that cities, as they institute regulations or ordinances, include and pay attention to equity. We have to make sure that those who were most harmed by the War on Drugs, those communities, are able to benefit from cannabis legalization now.”

Cannabis equity advocates and prospective Fresno cannabis business owners Cesar Casamayor and Gidai Maaza stressed that funds generated from cannabis programs in the city of Fresno should help address issues occurring in communities most impacted by drugs and poverty. “We are in constant communication about building better approaches and practices between the cannabis industry and our community, and finding ways to translate that into a cannabis business that is invested in the community,” Cesar Casamayor said.

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Mark Keppler

  Professor Mark Keppler is a Kenneth L. Maddy Professor of Public Affairs and the Executive Director of The Maddy Institute. As the Executive Director, he is the Institute’s CEO and is responsible for the overall management of the Institute and hosting both the Maddy Report (TV) and the Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition (radio & podcast) programs in the Central Valley.


California State Treasurer Fiona Ma

Fiona Ma is California’s 34th State Treasurer. California is the world’s fifth-largest economy and Treasurer Ma is the state’s primary banker. She was elected on November 6, 2018 with more votes than any other candidate for treasurer in the state’s history. She is the first woman of color and the first woman Certified Public Accountant (CPA) elected to the position.

Julian Cañete, President and CEO California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce

Julian Cañete serves as the President and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Through its network of over 80 Hispanic chambers and business associations, the CHCC is a leading voice on issues impacting business in California.

Former Fresno City Councilmember Clint Olivier

Clint Olivier was elected to Fresno City Council District 7 in 2010. Olivier secured passage of Fresno’s comprehensive cannabis regulations in December, 2018 to license cannabis retail, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and testing operations in California’s fifth-largest city. As former co-chair of Fresno’s Subcommittee on Cannabis, Olivier successfully authored numerous pieces of Cannabis legislation, including a ballot measure and a comprehensive package of licensing regulations.

Cedric Haynes, Director of Public Policy and Partnerships at Weedmaps

Cedric Haynes  leads social equity and social justice initiatives between Weedmaps and the cannabis industry. Previously, he served as a Subcommittee Director and Parliamentarian in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cesar Casamayor & Gidai Maaza, Co-Founders of The People's Dispensary - Fresno

Cesar Casamayor and Gidai Maaza are co-founders of The People’s Dispensary Fresno, a prospective cannabis dispensary aimed at helping underserved communities. They advocated for social equity in Fresno, through their support for Fresno’s Measure A Cannabis Business Tax to ensure that revenue from cannabis businesses benefits marginalized communities.

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Are you interested in making sure that California leads the cannabis economy? Do you want to have a business in this booming industry? If so, join us at one of our events. Together, we will get this right!

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