This year, MuniServices hired Larry Bergkamp and Jeff Kolin as special technical advisors to the company’s cannabis services section. In their new roles, Larry and Jeff will help MuniServices clients understand how the cannabis industry could impact local communities, and the advantages to addressing the issue now.
Prior to joining MuniServices, Larry served for more than 28 years with the California Board of Equalization (BOE). He started working on medical marijuana issues in 2003, and 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.
“A lot of municipalities are looking for standardized language and policies for local ordinances. The problem we’re seeing is that they aren’t out there right now,” said Larry Bergkamp. “Cities and counties have different priorities and policies, and have developed ordinances and codes to address their specific issues and concerns. Some local leaders have not taken any action, creating passive bans. However, these passive bans may not hold up in the future. It’s currently a very piecemeal approach.”
During his time with the BOE, Larry evaluated, developed and implemented medical marijuana administrative policies and audit methodologies to address the unique industry environment. He has extensive experience with every aspect of the medical marijuana industry and has an in-depth understanding of the state regulatory process. His proven track record of working cooperatively with multiple state agencies and local governments makes him a great asset to MuniServices and its clients as they navigate the growing complexities of the cannabis industry.
As a former city manager, Jeff understands the financial and regulatory hurdles cities must overcome in their day-to-day operations. He has helped several cities stabilize and grow their general funds, and address difficult policy challenges related to growth. Of note, while serving in Santa Rosa, he worked extensively with agencies, the City Council and the community to analyze the benefits of the medical marijuana industry and develop regulations to manage dispensaries.
“It really is the time for local leaders to have the policy discussions about allowing cannabis in their communities,” said Jeff Kolin. “Do they want the cannabis industry in their community? How many producers, distributors and dispensaries do they allow? What are appropriate land uses and zones for each segment of the industry? Locals need to answer these, and many similar questions, to determine what is the best fit for them.”
MuniServices regularly meets with clients with cannabis policy questions that come up in their community, at council meetings, or from the cannabis industry. With Larry’s experience at the BOE, and Jeff’s city manager perspective, coming from a city that approved dispensaries, MuniServices has positioned itself to answer pressing questions, and help local municipalities navigate the challenging waters of the cannabis industry in California.