Longtime head of California cannabis growers group steps down to head new MJ venture

Hezekiah Allen

Hezekiah Allen has been a staple of marijuana lobbying in Sacramento, California, for more than four years as head of the Emerald Growers Association and then the renamed California Growers Association (CGA).

But now he’s moving on to spearhead a new holding company to promote cannabis cultivation cooperatives.

Allen announced his resignation as executive director of CGA on Thursday during one of the organization’s board meetings.

“I announced, effective immediately, that I am no longer a paid staff member of CGA as of this morning,” Allen told Marijuana Business Daily.

“I will continue serving in a volunteer managing director role from now until the end of the year.”

He began as executive director of CGA – one of the state’s most prominent cannabis voices – in March 2014 and will likely continue as a board member in 2019. Allen was even nominated for the CGA board Thursday.

Allen said he recommended the CGA board:

  • Not hire a replacement for his position.
  • Take more of a leadership role in activism going forward.
  • Hire additional staff.

What’s next for Allen?

“I have been recently named as the chair of the Emerald Grown board. Emerald Grown is a mutual benefit corporation,” Allen said. “The members of that corporation are cannabis cooperative associations.

“We are developing right now a holding company, Cooperative California, that will seek to put cooperative economics first and foremost in cannabis.”

Allen said he has “big goals,” including making cultivation cooperatives into a Golden State marijuana powerhouse that command 30% of the cannabis flower market by 2023. And he says he already knows 600 cultivators in Northern California who are interested and eligible.

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