Expert Panel Weighs In on Recreational Marijuana in California

Sacramento Press Club topic for July 26

California officials, growers, and merchants are scrambling to prepare for legalized recreational marijuana in January with many of the details still hazy and many questions unanswered. The Sacramento Press Club is hosting a panel of experts for an update on efforts so far to integrate recreational and medical marijuana usage while the federal government continues to view it as a dangerous narcotic.


Lori Ajax, Chief, Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation: In February 2016, Governor Brown appointed Ajax as the first chief of the newly formed Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. Prior to her appointment, Ajax served as Chief Deputy Director at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control where she spent 22 years working her way up the ranks, starting at the investigator trainee level.

Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director, California Growers Association: Allen was born at home and raised off the grid in Humboldt County. Growing up on the frontline of the war on drugs instilled in him a deep-rooted passion for cannabis policy reform and social justice. As the Executive Director of the California Growers Association, he is now spearheading a community organizing effort to bring together cannabis growers and business owners throughout the state.

Alex Spelman, SICPA Business Development Director: Spelman oversees SICPA’s relationships with more than 45 states and 160 municipalities, all of which use SICPA’s products for supply chain verification and control (including the marijuana track-and-trace program currently used in California). Spelman has more than 17 years of experience assisting state and local agencies in developing and adopting regulatory, policy and enterprise technology initiatives.

Peter Hecht, Panel Moderator: Hecht is a former Sacramento Bee reporter and author of “Weed Land: Inside America’s Marijuana Epicenter and How Pot Went Legit.” He is author of two cannabis blogs, Weed Wars and California Weed.


About the lunch:

Date: Wednesday, July 26

Time: 11:30 registration opens, lunch 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Where: State Building & Construction Trades Council at 1231 I St, Suite 302 Purchase deadline: 5 p.m., Monday, July 24

Cost: $29 members/$40 non-members


Photo courrtesy of Sacramento Press Club.