Key Players Molding Calif.’s Pot Industry

By Willis Jacobson
Dec 11, 2020
The sun lights up glass on the downtown Sacramento Skyline

WeedWeek also introduced some of the lawmakers shaping California’s cannabiz. 

Lawmakers aren’t the only people shaping the California cannabis market. Many others outside of the state legislature have helped drive cannabis policy in the state and will likely continue to do so. Here are some names watch:

  • Holly Mitchell: After serving in the Assembly from 2010-13 and the Senate from 2013-20, Mitchell was elected in November to a four-year term on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Mitchell received an A+ rating from NORML for her voting record on cannabis issues. In October, she addressed the California Cannabis Industry Association and expressed a desire to improve equity in several areas, including within the cannabis industry, and to push for criminal justice reform.
  • Adam Spiker: A lobbyist and founder of the Southern California Coalition, Spiker has been influential in the development of cannabis policy, particularly in the Los Angeles region. He was involved in the creation and 2017 passage of Measure M, which laid the foundation for the Los Angeles REC market and social equity programs, and remains active in cannabis policy matters.
  • Max Mikalonis: A lobbyist with K Street Consulting, Mikalonis previously served as a top aide for Assemblyman Bonta from 2012-17. He was involved in the development of the state’s MED regulations prior to Prop 64 and has remained active in cannabis policy discussions since joining K Street, which counts several cannabis operators among its clients.
  • Nicole Elliott: Between 2017 and 2019 Elliott served as the director of the San Francisco Office of Cannabis. Then in 2019, Gov. Newsom appointed her senior adviser on cannabis. Elliott has built relationships throughout the industry and among regulators while leading the establishment of the San Francisco REC market. She now has an influential role in the governor’s office.
  • Cat Packer: The head of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR), Packer is tasked with overseeing regulations in the world’s largest municipal cannabis market. Prior to her appointment in 2017, she worked on California cannabis reform as a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. Improving the city’s social equity programs and cutting down on illicit operators are among her priorities, Packer recently told WeedWeek.