CA: Cannabis Industry Members Launch New Trade Association

Photo Credit: Brennan Linsley

Seeking a venue to unify and advocate for pot-friendly local government policies, SLO cannabis industry members recently announced the launch of a new trade association, the Central Coast Cannabis Council (C4).

“We want to strengthen our voice and improve our outcomes,” said Adam Laurent, the council’s interim president and a SLO-based cannabis business management consultant. “We’re all more or less fighting for the same thing.”

Laurent said the organization’s 15 founding members wanted a new umbrella to organize under following the passage of a county ordinance that capped cannabis cultivation permits at 141 and banned storefront dispensaries.

A C4 press release emphasized a “collaborative” and “cooperative” approach to its discussions and advocacy, noting “mixed results” from prior “fractured efforts” by the industry.

“There’s plenty to improve on,” Laurent said. “We weren’t quite striking the marks we were aiming for. It was like pushing a rock up a hill.”

A lack of cohesion and unity among industry members played a role in that, Laurent said. He attributed it to bringing a long-criminalized product out of the shadows.

“There are a wide variety of personalities and characters in this industry,” Laurent said. “The message wasn’t always the same.”

While all of C4’s current members are based in SLO County, Laurent said it’s also available to cannabis operators in Santa Barbara and Monterey counties. The group’s bylaws require members to have a residence in at least one of the counties, in part to quell concerns about out-of-area influence on the industry and local politics, he said.