Small businesses, entrepreneurs and artists alike have offered their services and products for the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance’s annual silent auction MaryJane’s Market.
The alliance’s Executive Director Diana Gamzon said the annual fundraiser provides visibility to small businesses, entrepreneurs and artists, while supporting the alliance’s mission — to build bridges between stakeholders in the cannabis industry and the larger community.
“In these bizarre COVID times, MaryJane’s Market provides an alternative at-home shopping experience where people can pick up their unique gifts in the days before Christmas,” Gamzon said.
Gamzon said the alliance’s community-based priorities have progressed. Now that the industry has gained state recognition, and local municipalities are catching up via policies like Grass Valley’s Measure N — a cannabis business tax — Gamzon is thinking beyond decriminalization.
“Our priority as we go into 2021 is to create long-term economic sustainability for the local cannabis industry,” Gamzon said. “This includes advocating for policy that will expand opportunities while reducing costly regulatory barriers.”
The auction ends Friday, Dec. 18.
Gamzon said some of the $15,000 the alliance hopes to raise during the fundraiser will go to the organization’s flagship initiative, the Get Legit education series.
The program on commercial cannabis licensing — made simple — provides regulatory support, professional development and farming best practice workshops.
“We also have a buddy program matching incoming applicants with permitted farmers,” Gamzon said. “We look forward to increasing our offerings to the community to serve as a resource for those entering the marketplace and helping to sustain those in the industry.”
Jason Jillson, the owner of the Ham Stand, said he is offering brunch for 10 people, plus drinks provided by Jernigen’s, at MaryJane’s Market because he appreciates what the cannabis industry has given the region.
“Cannabis is deeply woven into the fabric of Nevada County and the alliance has skillfully helped bring the industry into the light while providing an essential role in the economic sustainability of our rural county,” Jillson said.
Jillson said the entire community benefits from the legitimization and deeper understanding of the industry as a whole.
“By providing education to the community on how to obtain a local cannabis permit, as well as providing professional development training and networking opportunities, the alliance is arming the cannabis community with the knowledge to thrive,” Jillson said.
Josimar Bholai, fundraising manager for the alliance, could not choose just one of the 100 businesses to highlight.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of the local community,” Bholai said. “It’s difficult to choose one auction item to highlight considering everyone gave from their hearts.”
Bholai said items up for grabs include Snowmobile excursions, overnights in Tahoe cabins, alternative wellness sessions, Felix Gillet Fruit Tree nursery trees and consultation, and art by Sarah Coleman and Miles Tosland — to name a few.
“Personally, I’m excited about the white water rafting and skydiving trips,” Bholai said.
Mike Ingram is a local cannabis farmer who recently joined the industry.
“The alliance has helped me by providing resources specifically directed at supporting small cannabis farms,” Ingram said.
Ingram said he is grateful to not only listen and learn, but know that he is heard.
“As a new business in a brand new industry, the alliance provided a pathway to ensure my voice is heard on important policy issues,” Ingram said.
Ingram said the alliance reminds him that in finessing and legitimizing his craft, he is part of a larger movement.
“I am part of a supportive team of cannabis farmers helping to build our local industry and thrive on a state level,” Ingram said.
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at [email protected]