Greetings and Happy New Year!
I can't tell you how happy I am to be on the other side of 2017. I know its psychological, but January 1st, just seems like a new, fresh start is making it's self available. As I look forward to the future of SLO County Cannabis Business Association and it's impact here in San Luis Obispo County, I cannot help but to take a quick look back, just so we can better identify how to move forward.
December 19th several dozen cannabis industry operators were compelled to gather at SLO Brew, The Rock in San Luis. I decided to sit that one out when I learned the purpose was to form a trade association for San Luis Obispo Cannabis businesses. Hello!? SLOCCBA is already a cannabis trade association in SLO County, how many does this little county need? I was puzzled as to why one would want to create yet another trade association in SLO County when the industry partners are supposed to be uniting, not dividing at this time. It was my hope that now with solid regulation to sink our teeth into and we've put this referendum drama behind us, the several different factions here in the county could finally come together. Another attempt at a trade association, I think, will be confusing. Let's see what we can do to unify.
Before we get to that, I'm going to tell you what I've observed as I sit on the side of the local industry looking in. It seems to me that some of the major players who are "local" have all done business with one another at some point, and have screwed or have been screwed by someone along the way. It also would seem that some of the operators have unsavory pasts. Most legacy operators that I have spoke with have very little if any positive things to say about other operators. This has been the single most difficult thing to get past, in my opinion. This behavior makes the local industry operators look very unprofessional and unsophisticated in best business practices. Note that I say "some", not all fall into this category, nevertheless, they've been reluctant to associate with unsavory characters, exacerbating the difficulty with unification.
I've lived in this county for almost 40 years, in the conservative North County, mind you. In the past year, as I've tried to build this association and made affiliations along the way, it's mind boggling how many times I've been "warned" about who I should be cautious of because of past this or that. It's absurd and it's crippling our local efforts! As frustrating as John Peschongs "Slow" approach has been to roll out regs, I find I've been just as cautious in building the foundation of SLO County's cannabis trade association. But at what point do we come together, accept each other, opinions, talents, past flaws and all, instead of starting another faction every time someones unhappy with members or the Association?
When I got into this, all I wanted to do was to help businesses connect with the professional business services they will need to be successful. I saw a need to bring this local cannabis community together. I was also hoping I'd be able to connect better with elected officials in my neck of the woods. This has all proved a little more difficult than I had imagined. Bottom line:
Local cannabis businesses must compromise with each other first before they can expect any compromises from elected leadership.
SLOCCBA is having a board meeting, Monday, January 15th, 4PM. Location is 3524 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA. We do have a few board seats to fill and will be opening up membership, something we've been working on for the past year. I'd encourage you all to attend and consider how you can help pull folks together and begin to work as one representation. We're asking for those who are interested in a position on the board to submit a resume and/or bio including what expertise and experience they would be lending to the organization.
Let's start this new year off on a positive note with a fresh, clean slate. I'd love for you to come to the meeting and let's get this thing moving in a coordinated fashion.