Connecting state and local government leaders

A California County Supervisor’s Wisdom on Regulating Legalized Marijuana

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Connecting state and local government leaders

WATCH: According to Humboldt County Supervisor Rex Bohn, the marijuana industry isn’t just about growing and selling.

This is the first in a series of Route Fifty video interviews from the National Association of Counties annual conference in Franklin County, Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For officials in states where marijuana is completely illegal, the topic is fairly cut and dried—no pun intended.

In those states, marijuana is a criminal justice issue. It’s by no means simple—but at the very least it can be somewhat easily confined to a particular silo.

Sorting through the ins and outs of cannabis regulation, on the other hand, gets much more complicated for those state and local officials who live and work in jurisdictions that have voted to approve some degree of legality for the drug. As many as 30 states have done so, whether it’s by decriminalizing the possession of the drug, voting to approve the medicinal use of cannabis, or in the case of 10 states, approving its outright recreational use for adults.

Local officials whose job it is to enforce, or in some cases create, marijuana regulations know just how many issues this topic touches.  

One such local official, Rex Bohn, a supervisor from Humboldt County, California, sat down with Route Fifty during the National Association of Counties’ annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday to discuss his most pressing concerns for the industry.

Bohn weighed in on environmental issues—why it can be hard to regulate the cannabis industry as you would any other agricultural pursuit—and touched on banking issues caused by the tangled issues associated by the federal stance on marijuana—he estimates that as much as $2.5 billion is literally buried under Humboldt County.

He also shared a few of the mistakes his county made early on that he thinks other can avoid.

Quinn Libson is a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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