Nevada County supervisors make last-minute change to pot panel appointment
Nevada County supervisors on Tuesday sharply diverted from their marijuana consultant’s recommended replacement for a citizen’s panel, selecting Jim Drew as the newest member of the community advisory group after public speakers urged his appointment.
Matthew Wentz — recommended by cannabis consultant group MIG, Inc. and one of the public speakers — withdrew his name from consideration moments before supervisors unanimously selected Drew.
“If I had known (Jim) Drew was applying, I would have recommended him, too,” Wentz said.
The surprise selection came hours before the marijuana panel’s fifth meeting, which Drew attended as a newly-minted member. The group will meet eight times, crafting recommendations for the county’s permanent cannabis grow ordinance.
“I didn’t plan any of this,” Drew told supervisors after several people urged his selection over Wentz. “I support you folks in your decision, whatever it might be.”
Returning to his seat, Drew shook Wentz’s hand before sitting down.
The spot on the 16-member marijuana panel opened in late June when Matthew Shapero resigned, citing a new job in Southern California. Supervisors asked MIG to request applications from only those connected to the agricultural industry. Six people applied, with Wentz and Drew rising to the top.
Joan Chaplick, a principal with MIG, said Wentz was recommended because he’s actively part of the agricultural industry.
Drew is semi-retired, though his supporters cited his continued community involvement. He’s currently president of the Nevada Joint Union High School District Board.
Brad Fowler, president of the Nevada County Farm Bureau, asked supervisors to appoint Drew, saying he knew of no one with a better, broader knowledge of agriculture.
Jan Blake also urged Drew’s appointment.
“He’s an active livestock producer,” she said. “He has been very involved in the community for decades.”
Diana Gamzon, director of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, noted that a vote to approve Drew would be the second time that supervisors strayed from a MIG recommendation. The first happened when they added two people to the cannabis panel after MIG recommended only 14 people.
“I trust in the process of MIG,” Gamzon said.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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