My name is Aaron Johnson and I ask for your support in electing me to the International Cannabis Bar Association Board of Directors.
I have practiced law for over 20 years, mostly related to permitting/licensing vineyards, wineries, and other agricultural/value-added processes. I have navigated discretionary land use approvals for projects that required extensive political and community support from all political, economic and social backgrounds along the central coast of California and southern Bay Area.
Nearly 5 years ago, I formed and led a cannabis coalition called Coastal Growers Association, which is a group of local cannabis growers, processors, manufacturers, distributors and dispensaries. This group was instrumental in persuading the leadership within County of Monterey to adopt its initial pro-cannabis regulations, which is now one of the largest growing regions in the state. Most recently, we worked with those same leaders to drop the local tax by 66% in an effort to save our cultivators, and we succeeded, through close collaboration and the use of organized and thoughtful dialogue.
Throughout my professional career, I have been very active with trade associations closely related to my work. I serve as a Board member for our local Monterey County Farm Bureau, who elected me to represent them as a delegate before the state, and I was elected by the state representatives to represent California as a delegate at the national level. It was an interesting experience getting to learn the true political climate from all parts of the nation and to get an understanding of how to gain support for certain policies that draw criticism from all sides of the political spectrum. Our local Farm Bureau frequently provides support to Coastal Growers Association on cannabis policy and is one of the few Farm Bureaus in the state willing to write letters of support on behalf of our industry.
I have also worked with members of the California Bar Association regarding matters pertaining to law and agriculture. I believe our organization has a lot to draw from when it comes to collaborating amongst attorneys, and I believe we should emulate well-established Bar committees in an effort to continue the great work of those who formed our association and to organize our program for the benefit of our profession, our learning experience and ultimately our clients.
Thank you for your support!