A growing marijuana plant. Photo from Pixabay.
A growing marijuana plant. Photo from Pixabay.

Marijuana consumers, cultivators, state and local officials will congregate for the second day of the 2019 SoCal Cannabis Summit Tuesday, highlighting commercial opportunities in the region, as well as clarifying some of the hazier aspects of the regulatory schemes affecting growers and sellers throughout Riverside County and the state.

“Coachella is excited to be hosting this summit,” Coachella Mayor Steve Hernandez said last week. “The cannabis industry is a major economic driver for the region, and especially the city, where it has paved the way for cultivation, manufacturing, testing and dispensary businesses. It is our hope that this summit will help foster the critical collaboration needed between those who want to get into the cannabis industry, those who are currently in the business and the government entities that create policy, regulate and enforce it.”

The summit is being held at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, with several functions planned in the host city, Coachella.

According to organizers, the opening event on Monday was a “CannaBus Tour,” during which summit participants will be invited to ride aboard several buses for a look r at marijuana cultivation sites in Coachella and surrounding locations.

The Coachella Public Library also hosted a “Compliance After Licensing” workshop Monday afternoon, featuring speakers from the California Employment Development Department, Franchise Tax Board, Department of Industrial Relations and other entities.

The majority of speakers will be Tuesday, the final day of the summit, with Hernandez joining elected officials from Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert and Palm Springs in showcasing “The State of Cannabis in the Coachella Valley.”

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin will be addressing the enforcement of cannabis controls. The Board of Supervisors last fall implemented a regulatory framework that authorizes licensing a limited number of cultivation and retail operations. However, none of the applicants being reviewed by the county have been formally permitted to conduct business in unincorporated communities.

A number of cities in the county maintain full-scale bans on any type of commercial marijuana activity.

Other speakers on day two include Lori Ajax, chief of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma and longtime pro-cannabis legalization activist Steve DeAngelo, who was among the leading voices behind voter-approved Proposition 64, which was later codified under the 2017 Medicinal & Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act.

Former St. Louis Rams lineman Kyle Turley will also make a presentation, describing the benefits of replacing prescription opiates with medicinal marijuana for the treatment of his injuries, organizers said.

More information is available at www.coachellacannabissummit.com/.

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