OVERVIEW

MuniServices/Avenu Cannabis Support Services has developed a professionally dedicated and highly experienced Cannabis consulting team that has experience with issues impacting local government dating back to the inception of Cannabis industry regulation in California. Our Cannabis Support Services team has an established track record related to the “best practices” of local implementation, regulation, development, and compliance across California in the post-Proposition 64 era. The team has been a leader in the Commercial Cannabis services in California by closely monitoring and participating in the California cannabis regulatory process and being the first to provide financial and compliance audit services to cities with medical cannabis dispensaries. We are dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive the latest information on the state rule-making and compliance issues, as well as legislation pertaining to both medical and recreational business operations.

We are currently working with cities across California such as Santa Ana, San Rafael, Daly City, Emeryville, Antioch, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo to create statutory and regulatory frameworks, implement cost recovery models, and working with panels and committees to score and award cannabis business licenses.

PUBLIC SECTOR EXCLUSIVITY

MuniServices/Avenu Cannabis Support Services specializes in services that enable cities and counties to support businesses though clear operation plans in compliance with state and local public safety protocols. In order to properly and fairly introduce new cannabis business and activity MuniServices/Avenu Cannabis Support Services can help to translate the values of constituents and their representatives into well received policies and practices for all involved. We work solely for public sector clientele; thereby avoiding any real or perceived conflicts of interest which allow us to focus our efforts entirely from a governmental perspective. This exclusive public-sector focus qualifies us to review confidential taxpayer information and other confidential data that is not available to other industry-beholden consulting firms. Our exclusive public-sector focus has allowed us to develop unique expertise and multiple agency relationships and skillsets that better position our company to provide ordinance and consultative services related to the cannabis industry. 

Our experience in this industry, stemming from the very early days of local cannabis taxation, uniquely qualifies our firm to assist with implementation, development, optimization, and enforcement of local cannabis taxation and regulations. MuniServices/Avenu Cannabis Support Services combines expertise from local, state and federal government perspectives with its broad knowledge and experience in California taxation, legislation and regulation development. Our team includes a former City Manager, former Board of Equalization lead staff member on cannabis taxation, statewide and local campaign consultants and pollsters, and university policy educators, experts in economic development, a seasoned legal staff and a network of researchers and practitioners that cover all elements of legislation, licensing, zoning, impacts, education and communication.

CANNABIS AUDIT SERVICES

MuniServices/Avenu Cannabis Support Services has performed nearly 50 compliance audits for California municipalities, including the cities of Cathedral City, Palm Springs, and Sacramento, with regard to medical cannabis dispensaries and cannabis tax levies, providing us with the institutional knowledge on regulations, taxation, acquisition, cultivation, production and distribution of medical cannabis. Our knowledge of local governments and the cannabis industry allow us to develop cost recovery plans that fully reimburse the costs for planning, implementation and on-going administration. As a result, our clients will fully share in our knowledge and experience of the industry if it elects to do so.

EXPERTISE

MuniServices/Avenu has extensive experience in the state regulatory process, dispensary audits, and industry business activities including, but not limited to:

  • Ordinance review
  • Local Ballot Measure Assistance
  • Cultivation
  • Track and Trace
  • Transportation
  • Mobile Dispensaries
  • Storefront Dispensaries
  • Registration
  • Personal Use
  • Taxes

TEAM

MuniServices has assembled an expert technical staff with many years of experience in the medical marijuana industry.

Legal and Tax Audit
Jonathan Gerth, Esq., Vice President, Cannabis Audit
Contact: jonathan.gerth@avenuinsights.com

Jonathan Gerth joined MuniServices in 2010. He manages MuniServices Cannabis Audit Division. Jonathan has extensive professional experience in legal, business and accounting environments, including advanced federal, state and local governmental functions and tax compliance. He began his career as a tax attorney and appeals officer for the Internal Revenue Service’s Division of Chief Counsel and Compliance in Dallas, Texas. He later worked for a local private tax firm in Birmingham. Jonathan has held a wide variety of legal roles in MuniServices Tax Audit Department consisting of legal tax support and strategic analysis on compliance audits, tax controversy and advocacy, regulatory compliance initiatives, reforms in examination, assessment and collection practices, and intensive litigation support.

Senior Advisor
Jeff Kolin, Special Technical Cannabis Advisor
Contact:Jeff.Kolin@MuniServices.com

Jeff has worked in both large and small cities and has consistently developed strong long range financial plans and balanced budgets. His expertise includes water and wastewater utilities, public parking enterprises and property management with over 400,000 square feet actively leased at the City of Beverly HIlls. Mr. Kolin also worked closely with the community and City Council in Santa Rosa to develop regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. He has helped cities stabilize and grow their general funds, prepare for difficult financial challenges as well as manage future growth. As City Manager he developed City Budget Teams that involved Departments in the development and justification of their budget requests under a framework of Strategic Goals and Initiatives developed with his City Councils. He has also developed successful financing plans for a variety of complex capital projects including the construction of a new civic center complex, a 450 megawatt gas fired co-generation power plant, a 50 mile long tertiary treated waste water pipeline and pumping system used to inject water into a geothermal field to create steam for electric power generation and the creation of a variety of park and open space projects in both Southern and Northern California.

Technical Advisor
Larry Bergkamp, Special Technical Cannabis Advisor
Contact: Larry.Bergkamp@MuniServices.com

Larry Bergkamp joined MuniServices in April 2016. Prior to joining MuniServices he served for over 28 years with the State Board of Equalization (BOE). While working for the BOE, he has worked on medical marijuana issues since 2003. Larry was recognized as the leading medical marijuana expert at the agency until his retirement in 2015. Larry was involved in the initial registration of medical marijuana dispensaries for sales and use taxes purposes. He evaluated, developed and implemented medical marijuana administrative policies and audit methodologies to address the unique industry environment. Larry has extensive experience with every aspect of the medical marijuana industry and has an in-depth understanding of the state regulatory process. He has a proven track record of working cooperatively with multiple state agencies and local governments.

Senior Advisor
Brad Rowe, MPP
Contact: brad@rowepolicymedia.com

Brad is Adjunct Professor of criminal justice, cannabis and other drug policy at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and Lecturer of Public Policy at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative and coordinates the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Research team there. He sits on the Board of Advisors to the Los Angeles County Health Impact assessment on cannabis. He spent much of 2018 working with over a dozen localities across California helping them set their regulations, staff out municipal departments, develop effective tax and enforcement policies, select and award licensees, and convene community groups for educational sessions on licensing, use, and general public health and public safety education. He has reviewed state and federal cannabis legislation and regulations for municipal and state organizations. He has organized multiple community trainings and webinars on California cannabis policy post Prop 64 and contributed to the public discourse through the press. He served as an expert for the Arizona State University Citizen Initiative Review during their consideration of the impacts of legalization of cannabis. He was one of the leaders in the convening and program design effort to bring together the world’s top cannabis science and policy academics and practitioners for the 2016 Cannabis Science and Policy Summit – recruiting and moderating panels on federalism and cannabis policy, Mexican drug wars, and medical cannabis research. He oversaw the evaluation of medical cannabis and hemp policy for Jamaica as well as the market measurement of the medical, adult use, and illicit cannabis markets for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board in 2015. His recent contributions include working with academics and scientists to develop a cannabis research agenda for the state of California, serving as a panelist to address progressive policy trends and project work such as survey and study design for profiling the cannabis market and its users throughout Canada. Brad has worked with and advised attorneys general, commissioners of probation, police departments, state and national legislators, councilmen, regulators, treatment associations and tech companies on issues of drug abuse control, public safety, public health, criminal justice reform, and equity. 

Government Relations
Fran Mancia, Vice President, Government Relations
Contact: Fran.Mancia@MuniServices.com

Fran Mancia joined MuniServices in 1996. Fran is responsible for overseeing company Legislative, Regulatory, and Government Relations work at the state and federal level. Fran has a strong working knowledge of local government general fund tax laws and state and federal regulatory and legislative issues that impact local governments. He monitors, analyzes and leads company advocacy efforts related to legislation, state mandates and policies that affect client revenue streams in all general fund tax areas. Fran is a member of the League of California Cities Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee, and was the 2007 and 2008 President of the League’s Partner Program. Fran is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the California City Management Foundation and was recently selected to serve as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California.

In-House Lobbyist / Legislative and Regulatory Reporting
Brenda Narayan, Director Government Relations/In-House Lobbyist
Contact: Brenda.Narayan@MuniServices

Brenda monitors legislation in Sacramento and Washington D.C. that may have potential impacts to local government. Brenda is the primary author of MuniServices Policy, Regulatory and Legislative updates and is our in-house lobbyist. Brenda is responsible for coordinating the Company’s day-to-day legislative and regulatory activity. Brenda researches, identifies and tracks key legislation for MuniServices on behalf of clients. She provides internal and external leadership insight and concepts in public and community relations activities as they pertain to policy matters. Prior to joining MuniServices, Brenda served as an assistant to the Speaker of the State Assembly. Brenda serves on the Executive Committee for the League’s (business) Partner program and has served numerous terms as a member of the League of California Cities Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee. Brenda is MuniServices Corporate Partner representative to the California State Association of Counties. Brenda was Selected to serve on the United States Conference of Mayors Business Council Steering Committee beginning June 2016.

POLICY UPDATES & PRESENTATIONS

The Government Relations team created a helpful report on medicinal marijuana in California. This report is designed to help local officials better understand some of the complexities surrounding this issue. http://www.muniservices.com/wp-content/uploads/052616_MuniServices_Policy_Update-Cannabis_Framework_Considerations_LegislationResources.pdf

April 10, 2017
MuniServices Cannabis Webinar Audio – Addressing Public Safety Concerns with Legalized Cannabis

April 10, 2017
MuniServices Cannabis Webinar April 2017

November 29, 2016
MuniServices Cannabis Webinar Audio

November 29, 2016
MuniServices Cannabis Webinar 112916

November 16, 2016
Proposition 64 “The Impacts of Recreational Cannabis Webinar Audio

November 16, 2016
Proposition 64 “The Impacts of Recreational Cannabis”

October 1, 2016
Cannabis Legislation, Polling and News, Proposition 64

September 27, 2016
MuniServices Cannabis Webinar Audio

September 27, 2016
MuniServices Cannabis Webinar 092716

September 7, 2016
AB 2679 (Cooley) Cannabis Regulation – Support and Request for Signature

September 6, 2016
MuniServices Cannabis Webinar 090616

September 6, 2016
2016 Cannabis Legislative and Policy Review

ADDITIONAL RELEVANT RESOURCES

Legislative Analyst’s Office, Marijuana Legalization, 2016 Proposed Initiative Statute
http://www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/crimjust/2016/Marijuana-Legalization-052416.pdf

California Department of Food and Agriculture: Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program
https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/mccp/

California Department of Pesticide Regulation: California’s Environmental Laws as they Relate to
Pesticide Use

http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/county/cacltrs/penfltrs/penf2015/2015atch/attach1502.pdf

Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation Common Questions
http://bmmr.dca.ca.gov/about_us/faq.shtml

California Department of Public Health: Medical Marijuana Program Resources
http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/MMP/Pages/default.aspx

BOE Marijuana News
https://www.boe.ca.gov/news/marijuana.htm

League of California Cities
http://www.cacities.org/medicalmarijuana

California State Association of Counties
http://www.counties.org/medical-marijuana

Rural Counties Representatives of California
http://www.rcrcnet.org/issues/marijuana

“Cole Memo” / Federal Enforcement
https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf

Governor’s Proposed 2016-17 State Budget / LAO Analysis
http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2016/3464/med-marijuana-reg-act-051616.pdf

Legislative Analyst’s Office, Governor’s May Revision; Budget Trailer Bill Changes to the Medical Marijuana Regulations and Safety Act
http://www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/crimjust/2016/Medical-Marijuana-Regulation-Safety-Act-052416.pdf

Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues: Compendium of Use Data and Research
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/

Marijuana Policy Project
https://www.mpp.org/

American’s For Safe Access
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/california_advocacy