I talked to Dona Frank of Natural Cannabis Company about California’s Prop 64 vote and the future of cannabis in Northern California.
Q. It’s likely that Prop 64 will pass in a few days. Although the community has been split on this particular proposition, what do you see as the greatest opportunity with this new legalization?
A. I’m excited that we will be able to share and serve some of Northern California’s vast cannabis crop with people from all over the world.
Q. Sonoma County seems set on making itself a hub for Northern California cannabis. What are the biggest problems that communities and municipalities need to address in order for a healthy cannabis industry to grow and flourish?
A. Sonoma County is going to have some competition from surrounding municipalities for the proud position of “hub”. I suggest that the county permitting process be expedient, efficient and user friendly. The most important part will be affordability. Availability of permits in abundance will be essential as well.
Q. What lessons have been learned so far from how other recreational states have handled the transition? Any predictions for CA?
A. In my humble opinion, the process (alcohol model) that California has chosen is just plain awful. I want legalization badly, but not to the enrichment of the alcohol monopoly that already exists in California. I mean come on, the Cannabis bureau chief was hand selected from the alcohol industry. The fix is about to be in and we need to fight back hard to stop this huge money game and stay true to our small farms and farmers.
Q. Sonoma County has long been a mecca for wine lovers and now it’s poised to become a destination for cannabis lovers too. How do you see our local landscape and tourism industries changing? How can it become more friendly to this type of tourism?
A. I’ll start the charge! We have an amazing tasting room that we would like a permit for! It will once again be a matter of easily available permits and expediency. Stalls and hyper over-regulation will choke out the county’s chances of domination for the tourist dollar. People know about Mendocino and Napa when it comes to wine and cannabis. Sonoma is going to have to step up big time to claim any dominance for the cannabis aficionados to take notice. This will be so lucrative for the county; they will need to hire far more people to accommodate the madness!