With the passage of Proposition 64, we recognized a unique opportunity to take a proactive approach to working with legal cannabis growers in our area. Given many cannabis operations had been operating outside of regulatory statutes and were possibly unaware of many resource issues, USLTRCD felt a need to provide technical expertise and work at the ground-level with local growers. Our role in the community is not to tell growers what they should and shouldn’t do to conserve resources, we envisioned our role as giving growers a set of tools to evaluate their successes and areas needing improvement, and to give them a resource to use to market themselves as good stewards. With this vision, we created the Growing Responsible And Socially Sustainable – Cannabis (GRASS-C) program which is a self-assessment/third party verification program. The program has caught the interest of local cannabis growers and stakeholders across the state. Recently, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) was approached by a funding agency to help RCDs work with cannabis growers in their districts to utilize GRASS-C as a tool for collaboration.
USLTRCD, along with several other participating RCDs, are moving forward with the GRASS-C program, updating it, and involving a wider array of stakeholders who see the benefit of having sustainably, locally-sourced cannabis. With funding now available, our RCD can work directly with landowners to provide technical assistance regarding their land use practices, cannabis operation, and certifying workforce equity.
In order to further assist growers in our area, USLTRCD, Coastal San Luis RCD, and Cachuma RCD will be hosting a cannabis focused workshop in the upcoming months. The intent of the workshop is to bridge gaps between permitted cannabis growers, resource agencies, and technical experts, provide opportunities for discussion about resource concerns, and to build partnerships.