South Bay Cannabis Roundtable


July 11, 2018 at 5:45 - 7:30 PM



Legislators, regulators, policy makers, business & community leaders gathered at City Hall on July 11 to share strategies for more state and local licensing of cannabis businesses

The first-ever South Bay Cannabis Roundtable brought together civic leaders and cannabis industry insiders to exchange ideas and educate each other on a variety of cannabis-related issues in California. Top of the agenda: the slow rate and lack of state and local licensing of cannabis dispensaries. As a result of so few licenses, “the illegal market is flourishing and California–the medical and adult-use cannabis center of the world–has actually become a cannabis desert,” according to one participate. “It’s ironic,” he added: “California is the largest legal cannabis market in the world. But because cities are loath to give licenses to local businesses, and the state cannot issue licenses until the local jurisdiction does first . . . California is also the world’s largest illegal cannabis market.”

Even though adult use cannabis is legal in the Golden State, almost 85% of cities and counties ban its sale.

Lamar Thorpe, the mayor pro tem of Antioch, a San Francisco suburb, shared his experience as a civic leader who initially opposed cannabis businesses in his community. He was particularly concerned about crime. “But I listened . . . and did my research.” Now, he advocates for cannabis, when regulated and zoned fairly and correctly, as a legitimate economic benefit for California communities. “Your local Applebee’s creates more crime than your local (cannabis) dispensary,” he noted.

The event included two panel discussions, which explored specific challenges and highlighted innovative solutions from both industry and government experts. Both were moderated by Fiona Ma, a member of the state’s Board of Equalization and a candidate for state treasurer. Panelist included Monica Wilson of the Antioch City Council, Sean Kali-rai, the founder and president of the Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance, David Hua, CEO of Meadow, a software startup, Melissa Sanchez of the Harvest Law Group, and Bob Nunez of the Milpitas City Council.

The event was hosted by and presented by the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Canna-Centers, MGO/ELLO and Weedmaps.

The next event will take place in San Diego on Saturday, September 22 at UC San Diego. A third event is planned for November in Los Angeles.


Frank Louie

Frank Louie brings a very diverse business background to the chamber’s management team. He led a very successful 22-year career in management leadership positions in sales and operations for Xerox Corporation. Most recently, Louie served as General Manager for the Public Sector Northwest Region focusing on the state, local and education markets. He also has extensive experience working for start-up technology companies in the Internet payment and billing space, and the Alternative Energy industry.

Melissa Sanchez

Harvest Law Group founder Melissa N. Sanchez created the firm to focus on her passion of helping her clients become and stay compliant with cannabis laws. She practices law the same way she lives her life: with intrepid enthusiasm, resourceful creativity and commitment to sustainability. Read More

Julian Canete

Julian Cañete serves as the President and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the premier organization promoting the development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and emerging Latino businesses in California. Through its network of Hispanic chamber and business associations, the CHCC represents the business interests of over 800,000 Hispanic owned businesses throughout the state of California. An active leader in the business community, he is currently a member of the California Utilities Diversity Council (CUDC), serves on the Department of General Services Small Business Advisory Board, and the Californians for Affordable & Reliable Energy (CARE) coalition. Julian has served as the Chairman of the San Joaquin County Private Industry Council, CalVet, CAMEO, and on the National Association of State Latino Chambers of Commerce.

David Hua

David Hua is an entrepreneur, marketer, problem solver, and catalyst. In 2014 Hua co-founded Meadow, a cannabis technology company and Y-Combinator’s first start-up to operate in the cannabis space. Meadow is powering California cannabis with a full software suite for dispensaries.

Bob Nunuz

A career educator, Councilmember Bob Nuñez was elected to the Milpitas City Council in 2016 after having previously served on the Milpitas Unified Board of Education and following a 40-year career dedicated to education.

Sean Kali-Rai

Lives in California since 1975, a product of California Public Schools. Graduated Santa Clara University with a B.S. in Economics. California Real Estate Licensee / Broker #01067245 since 1990. Founder of Jackson and Main, LLC a California based business advisory and lobbyist specializing in land use entitlement, cannabis industry, and state level legislative action. Jackson and Main works with city, county, and state level regulators on the behalf of their clients. Read More

Scott Johnson

Scott is a partner at Macias Gini & O’Connell (MGO), a CPA and advisory firm. He leads MGO’s state and local government advisory services. Scott has over 30 years of high-level organizational management and leadership experience. He is nationally recognized as a leader in managing city finances, investments, and budgets. Scott’s areas of expertise include fiscal and internal operations of large multi-billion dollar government organizations, as well as medium sized local governments such as the cities of Santa Clara, Milpitas, San Jose, Oakland and Concord, and the County of Santa Clara. He has served as the Assistant City Manager, Assistant City Administrator, Director of Finance, and Controller-Treasurer. Read More


Fiona serves on the California State Board of Equalization, where she works to protect the rights of taxpayers while also ensuring that California collects its fair share of tax revenues. She is currently a candidate for California State Treasurer.

Monica Wilson

Lamar Thorpe

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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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