Company: California Growers Association
Location: Sacramento, California
Position: Executive Director
Born and raised in rural Humboldt County, California, Hezekiah Allen grew up learning everything there is to know about cannabis.
He grew it, sold it, smoked it and ran his own cannabis farm before becoming executive director of the California Growers Association. Now his goal is to protect the young industry — especially in California — through lobbying and statewide programs.
“(Our goal is) ensuring that the culture, the varietals and the farmers that have long been the global leaders in cannabis are able to transition to the regulated future,” Allen says. “(That means) ensuring that cannabis remains a startup-friendly business, ensuring that cannabis is an equitable industry and continues to create good jobs in communities up and down the state, and ensuring that the marketplace of the future acknowledges and corrects the injustices of our past.”
The California Growers Association lobbied for and helped pass the Medical Regulatory and Safety Act in 2015. Many of the details in that bill were later incorporated into Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis, including “recognizing cannabis as an agricultural product, establishing appellations for cannabis and ensuring that license requirements and fees are used to provide pathways forward for all,” Allen says.
After the legislative session ends in September, the regulatory process for new commercial cannabis licenses will move forward and likely be ready around the start of 2018. But that process won’t be easy.
“With two divergent regulatory frameworks (MRSA and AUMA), more than 45 pieces of cannabis related legislation and three new licensing agencies just getting off the ground, there really aren’t enough hours in any day, or enough days in any week,” Allen says.