California Weed

This marijuana ‘compliance company’ planned a big pot party. Too bad it was illegal

A company responsible for keeping Sacramento dispensaries compliant with the law has run afoul of the city’s pot czar for planning an illegal marijuana party.

Capitol Compliance Management and its nine affiliated dispensaries have been running advertisements in the Sacramento News & Review for a “Holiday Budtender Bash” that was scheduled for Thursday.

Joe Devlin, the city’s chief of cannabis policy and enforcement, said the company canceled the event after he told them it would violate state and city laws by allowing public consumption of marijuana and by giving it away.

Advertisements for the party promised attendees could “smoke out with your favorite budtenders” – the equivalent of bartenders in the dispensary world. They also promoted “vendor giveaways” and a “dab bar,” where people can smoke a controversial form of concentrated cannabis. VIP tickets cost a “minimum $300 donation.”

Capitol Compliance Management officials did not return a message Tuesday requesting comment. Devlin said the company’s compliance manager, Matt Haines, initially told him that he wasn’t aware of the planned party and later said it was conceived by the company’s marketing division without his knowledge.

“It causes me concern that a compliance company doesn’t understand the rules as well as they should,” Devlin said.

“Holiday Budtender Bash” ad in the SN&R. Bee staff

The company’s website says it is a “business services, management and development company based in Sacramento, derived from marketing executives and cannabis professionals.”

Capitol Compliance Management was registered with the state in March of last year. At the time, Sacramento medical marijuana dispensaries were moving into a new era of city and state regulations, ushered in by the November 2016 passage of Proposition 64, which legalized adult-use recreational marijuana.

Sales of recreational pot became legal in California Jan. 1.

The company first attracted public notice in November when the Office of the City Auditor issued a critical report of the city’s dispensaries, finding that some were under-reporting tax revenue, allowing marijuana smoking on site and selling more plants than what was permitted.

At a Sacramento City Council meeting in which several council members voiced their displeasure with the findings, Haines sought to allay their concerns.

Capitol Compliance Management represented dispensaries with the “goal of making them 100 percent compliant,” Haines told the council.

Haines, who came from the restaurant industry and operates restaurants including 33rd Street Bistro and Riverside Clubhouse, told the council he entered the cannabis industry after extensive consideration.

Since that meeting, Haines has not returned calls from The Bee seeking more information about Capitol Compliance Management and its work with Sacramento dispensaries.

The company has run several ads in the News & Review in recent weeks. “Compliance will be everything in the era of recreational cannabis,” one of them states.

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