Monica Senter: Take a closer look, Supervisor Miller
In his recent op-ed piece, Supervisor Dan Miller appeared to call into question the cannabis community’s contribution to charitable and not-for-profit organizations. Supervisor Miller went on to offer an idea to cannabis farmers for increased engagement.
We at the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance recognize that there are some in the cannabis community who simply do not engage in local charitable efforts, but others in the cannabis community are offended at this assertion because it fails to recognize their charitable works.
The Alliance believes Supervisor Miller, not unlike others in Nevada County, is reflecting a lack of understanding of just how embedded cannabis farmers are in the community and how much they have contributed over the last 40 years.
The charitable contributions made by many in the cannabis community is well understood by those who care to know. Long before the Alliance was an organization, members of the cannabis community and volunteers have shown up for the greater good, even if done quietly and without fanfare.
We at the Alliance, have mobilized volunteers for numerous community volunteer efforts including river clean up, homelessness fund and food drives, sustainable agriculture education etc. The Alliance has formed partnerships with local environmental organizations to launch educational workshops that address environmental issues created by an unregulated industry. The Alliance and its members have also participated in many fundraising events and collected donations for our local nonprofits. We have loaded firewood for seniors in the winter and collected cash donations for organizations that provide meals for those in need during the holidays. Our newsletter features a community outreach program that connects the more than 2,400 email subscribers to worthy causes.
We believe any elected leader’s responsibility is to meet with constituents to learn about their endeavors and the challenges they face in this county. It is surprising to us that, even though Supervisor Miller has met with representatives and members of the Alliance, he still does not seem to know much about this key component of his constituency, nor does he seem to distinguish the community-centric grower from those who bring the industry a bad name.
The Alliance is concerned that our community continues to suffer from outdated drug war stigma that is perpetuated by broad stroke characterizations. Ridiculing the entire cannabis community for political expediency only serves to deepen a divide in our community that serves no one. We offer to Supervisor Miller, an alternate approach that invites all community members to the table to create solutions and end the harmful divide we have seen since Measure W.
Fortunately, we see Supervisor Miller’s invitation as an opportunity. We believe Supervisor Miller can be the perfect bridge between the cannabis industry and the community at large, especially those who have not yet had the opportunity to interact with the hundreds of farmers looking to become legitimate businesses.
We want to offer an idea to Supervisor Miller that we continue this conversation, so that we may reach those organizations that in the past have been hesitant to work with us because of the stigma attached to the cannabis community. We invite him to facilitate an openness between the growers and the community at large. Also, to create a pathway to licensure so that legitimate businesses are allowed to show up and contribute as other businesses in our community do.
Our volunteer brigade is ready to be deployed where and when it is needed. This is how we build bridges, through collaboration — all in the spirit of building a better Nevada County for all who call this place home. We invite Supervisor Miller to take a closer look, and we invite him to work with us in our future charitable activities in our beloved Nevada County.
Monica Senter is an executive board member at the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance.
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