Editor’s note: this article has been updated to include additional details from the county.
MENDOCINO Co., 3/28/23 — Kristin Nevedal, the program director for Mendocino County’s cannabis program, has resigned effective today, according to a report from closed session made by Mendocino County’s Board of Supervisors Chair Glenn McGourty. McGourty announced at the end of the closed session at the start of the regular meeting that the board would be accepting Nevedal’s resignation.
No additional information was provided by the board concerning her departure during the meeting. In response to questions from The Mendocino Voice, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Cherie Johnson confirmed that Nevedal’s resignation was effective today, but could not speak to additional information on whether the county would be rehiring for the position or when. On today’s supervisors agenda was a closed session discussion in which 30 minutes was allocated to a performance evaluation of the position. A phone call to Nevedal resulted in the response of “I don’t have any comment, thank you,” and a hang-up before any questions could be asked.
Nevedal was recruited to the position by Supervisor Ted Williams, as he noted at the time, and began as the program’s director on March 15, 2021. She was the first of four people who have held the position who had a background in the cannabis industry, including as an employee of several industry associations. During her tenure, the program reported directly to the supervisors, which had not been the case for previous program managers, who were part of the agriculture department, CEO’s office, and Planning and Building. Nevedal also oversaw a move to the department to Willits, which took place at the end of 2022, and the administration of several different substantial state funded grant programs, as well as the overall process of approving applicants for cannabis permits and ensuring the county’s licensing program worked smoothly. The job description can be found in our previous reporting on her hiring.
This month, Nevedal testified before a March 13 oversight hearing of the California Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development on “The State of Cannabis Regulation in California: Progress, Challenges, and Next Steps.” During her presentation, she detailed the challenges facing Mendocino County’s cannabis permitting program and applicants, which included challenges with CEQA requirements, staffing, dispersal of equity funds, and significant delays for provisional licenses applicants, to result in a rate of licensing much lower than in other counties.
During that meeting, Nevedal also acknowledged an error of several million dollars in her grant reporting to the state, which indicated that millions of dollars in equity grants had already been dispersed, although it had not been at that time. Nevedal subsequently discussed this error during the following Board of Supervisors meeting.
There are several cannabis related discussion items on today’s supervisors’ agenda, and the lack of an existing program director has been cited by at least one supervisor in discussion of how the program will be funded and implemented in the future.
See our previous reporting on Mendocino County’s cannabis program manager here.