The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors today appointed seven positions and two alternates to an advisory committee that will advise the board on awarding small grants and loans to local cannabis operators.
The board made all its decisions by unanimous votes, approving supervisor appointments Jim Groeling (1st District), Thomas Mulder (2nd District), Hollie Hall (3rd District), Richard Marks (4th District) and Sarah Balster (5th District).
For two at-large positions, the board selected Rich Ames, a retired Eureka stock broker, to represent business understanding, and Hannah Joy, who works in cannabis business management locally.
The division between “industry knowledge” and a “cannabis background” is inherent to the two seats.
In voting for the at-large members, the supervisors roundly praised Ames, who has a long history of doing business in the area.
“I wouldn’t know Hannah Joy from Hannibal Lecter,” said 1st District Supervisor Rex Bohn of the other at-large, conflating the sound of her name with the villainous fictional character.
“But she called up and made an impassioned plea of why she thought she could service (the position),” he continued. “Looking at her application, I can see why she thought she was qualified and had a knowledge of the industry.”
He also praised her stated willingness to recuse herself from committee votes when necessary.
The advisory committee will use about $180,000 of the county’s pot tax revenue — one part of the larger Project Trellis, built to support local small-farm cannabis growers.
For the two alternate seats, the supervisors selected Brian St. Clair of the Southern Humboldt-based pot cultivation Riverview Gardens and Thomas Handwerker, a Eureka resident with a history of securing federal grants.
Fennell, who initially wanted St. Clair as an at-large member, said she was “moved” by St. Clair’s application, which said the Trellis funds are “for those who need them, not for those who want them.”
Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.