Cannabis is Essential

By Hoge Fenton | 07.13.2020 | Client Alerts

Join Hoge Fenton, San José Spotlight, Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance, and our notable panelists as we take a look at the state of the growing cannabis industry in California and San José.


Cannabis is Essential – What does this mean for the state, cities, consumers, and the industry?

Cannabis as a Revenue Source – Should cities suffering from budget deficits take a serious look at cannabis revenue?

80% of the Cannabis Sold in California is Unlicensed – Is more enforcement the answer?

Treating Cannabis Like Any Other Business – Which cities are doing it right and how can more be persuaded to say “yes” to cannabis?

Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Cannabis industry in California – What role do cities have? What role does the state have?

Cannabis Capital of Silicon Valley – After 5 years of legalization, how can San José build on its successful cannabis program?

Meet our Panelists

Nicole Elliott was appointed Senior Advisor on cannabis in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development in 2019. Elliott was the director at the San Francisco Office of Cannabis since 2017. She was responsible for overseeing the City and County’s implementation of Proposition 64, facilitating the creation of San Francisco’s commercial cannabis regulatory framework, prioritizing community engagement, transitioning to the legal market for San Francisco cannabis businesses, and bringing a more inclusive and diverse industry.
In November 2016, Ash Kalra was elected to represent the 27th Assembly District, which encompasses downtown San Jos é , East San José , Evergreen and parts of South San Jos é . He was appointed Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment, and also sits on the Aging and Long Term Care, Education, Judiciary, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committees. Kalra has established himself as a leader on issues ranging from the environment and conservation to criminal justice reform, and health care sustainability.
Pam Foley is a small business owner and a San Jos é City Councilmember representing District 9. The Councilmember sits on the City’s Committee for Housing Construction & Development Services and is the Vice Chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee. One of the Councilmember’s primary goals is to facilitate job creation and to foster opportunities for economic development. Since joining the Council, Foley has advocated loosening San Jos é ‘s overly restrictive cannabis zoning regulations, to launch a Cannabis Equity Program, and to expand San Jos é ‘s number of cannabis business licenses.
David McPherson is the Compliance Director for HdL Companies. Prior to joining the firm, McPherson served 28 years in local government for the County of Orange and the cities of Newport Beach, San Jos é and Oakland. He is recognized in California as one of the leading experts in cannabis and hemp policies, regulations and taxation strategies. When McPherson was the Revenue & Tax Administrator in the City of Oakland, he became a pioneer by being the first person in the Country to tax, regulate and audit the cannabis industry.
Hirsh Jain is the Director of Government Affairs at Caliva, one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis companies in California. He was previously the West Coast Director of Government Affairs at MedMen, the largest cannabis retailer in the country, overseeing the company’s work in California, Arizona and Nevada. Before working in cannabis, Jain spent several years as a Government Affairs Manager at Airbnb in San Francisco, helping build the company’s global policy team up from 30 to 300 people.

Meet Our Moderators

Embert Madison, Jr. is a real estate associate and his practice focuses on real estate, business transactions, and cannabis regulation. Madison has represented clients in commercial real estate transactions throughout California, Texas, and Florida. Embert has extensive cannabis regulatory experience representing both local governments and private businesses. He has drafted cannabis business and zoning regulations for nine cities in Northern and Central California, and represented these entities during public hearings, private negotiations, and in cannabis related litigation.
Adam Hutton is a Freelance Reporter for San Jos é Spotlight. Hutton grew up in Kansas City and got his first reporting job at his hometown local paper. He moved to New York in 2003 and continued writing for newspapers including The Village Voice and amNewYork. In 2007, Hutton transitioned from print to digital, working as a producer at CBS News and 24-hour television news station NY1 where he also developed skills shooting and editing video. He moved to the Bay Area in 2018 and has since written extensively about cannabis and politics for Spotlight and The Mountain View Voice.

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