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Cannabis Country - Sebastopol: a bright, shining light

The Healdsburg Tribune  •  Jonah Raskin
August 17, 2018

The four partners are Craig Litwin, Mitcho Thompson, Johnny Nolen and Angie Harrison, who is the CEO at the 421 [G]roup, which calls itself a "full service cannabis consultancy." Indeed, 421 [Group] provides help to clients already in the cannabis business or about to start in the business.
Litwin served on the Sebastopol City Council for eight years, and as the mayor for two terms, from 2000 to 2008. Along with Linda Kelley, he wrote the dispensary ordinance for Sebastopol.
Litwin and his partners in the legal cannabis industry have survived while others in the illegal industry have fallen by the wayside, or not yet succeeded, for half a dozen reasons. They've been patient and persistent, they know how to navigate tangled rules and regulations and they know how to talk to people who sit behind desks, make up rules and then enforce them.
Litwin, Thompson, Nolen and Harrison also get along with one another. Finally, they’re at the right place and at the right time.
"We live in a very regulated state," Litwin said. "It requires a very strong stomach to get involved and then stick with it."

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Parks And Recreational Marijuana: Cannabis Groups Are Improving Parks

Green Rush Daily  •  Adam Drury
August 13, 2018

Justice Grown California and 421 Group are donating time and money to Sonoma County’s "Parks for All" campaign.

A number of groups have come out in support of the "Parks for All" initiative. But some of the most vocal proponents have been two cannabis industry groups. 421 Group and Justice Grown California are both donating time and resources to promoting the ballot measure.

That sense of community responsibility was echoed by 421 Group president Craig Litwin. "It's critical for the entire community," Litwin said, announcing 421 Group's participation in the "Parks for All" campaign.

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Cannabis groups support parks improvement measure

Sonoma West Times & News    E.I. Hillin
August 10, 2018

421 Group offers time and money
A Sonoma County Parks improvement ballot measure is gaining support from many groups. One of those is the regulated cannabis industry. Craig Litwin, 421 Group President, said by and large, the cannabis industry cares about the environment and open spaces and supporting the Parks for All campaign is a way to show that support.  
"It's critical for the entire community," Litwin said. "We are here to donate time and money to the campaign."
421 Group and Justice Grown California are two groups taking a stand in support for the parks campaign. Staff from both groups attended the Parks for All campaign volunteer meeting on Aug. 2 in Santa Rosa.
Sebastopol-based 421 Group is a cannabis consulting firm targeted at helping cannabis businesses grow and succeed.

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Press Democrat Poll finds sharp division in Sonoma County over cannabis cultivation

The Press Democrat    Guy Kovner
June 3, 2018

The 46 percent averse to cannabis growing anywhere near them is similar to the 41 percent of county residents who voted against legalization, noted Craig Litwin, a Sebastopol-based cannabis industry consultant and entrepreneur.
Litwin, the cannabis consultant, said the industry would be safer with a "banking solution" that would eliminate the lure of cash on hand at growing sites.

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Sonoma County, California DA Taking 'Proactive' Approach to Addressing Cannabis Convictions under New Law

Ganjapreneur    TG Branfalt
March 14, 2018

The district attorney's office is working with cannabis consultants 421 Group and attorney Omar Figueroa in the process.

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Sonoma County DA takes action to clear cannabis convictions

Sonoma West Times & News  •  E.I. Hillin
March 13, 2018

Local cannabis consultant and former Sebastopol councilmember Craig Litwin said he had a number of conversations with Ravitch on the issue.
"421 Group participated in a conference call with the district attorney and the law offices of Omar Figueroa to advocate for a policy to expunge cannabis convictions," he said. "I have always found District Attorney Ravitch to be approachable and open to hearing about the needs of the cannabis community."

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Sonoma County changes policy to proactively clear past pot-related convictions

The Press Democrat    Kevin Fixler
March 5, 2018

"It's not just a cannabis issue, but a social justice issue," said Craig Litwin, president of the 421 Group cannabis consultancy. "It helps folks with less means clear their record. They won't have to claim they were convicted of a crime on future job applications, recognizing that what people did under current standards is not a crime."
"This has potential to inspire DAs from others counties to do the same thing," Litwin said. "It follows great leadership in doing what's right... and helps us further turn the corner on the archaic and unjustified war on cannabis."

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Office of the District Attorney, County of Sonoma  •  Press Release
March 5, 2018

Local cannabis consultant 421 Group President Craig Litwin noted, "[We] will do our part to help the District Attorney actively expunge cannabis convictions in order that the process be faster for citizens and less expensive for the county."

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Sebastopol green lights three cannabis home deliveries

Sonoma West Times & News  •  E.I. Hillin
February 26, 2018

Craig Litwin, 421 Group cannabis consultant and former two-term councilmember, spoke to the council during public comment. He said two dispensaries were not enough for the city and he believed the city should be more receptive to open[ing] up unlimited amounts of delivery services rather than restricting the number.

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Adult-use cannabis in Sonoma County

Sonoma West Times & News  •  E.I. Hillin
January 30, 2018

Sebastopol has a strong history of cannabis support, said Craig Litwin, former Sebastopol councilmember and principal in the 421 Group, a Sebastopol-based cannabis consultant.

"We've had a personal cultivation ordinance for many years in Sebastopol, since 2009,” Litwin said.

The first cannabis business in the county to be granted a cultivation permit, other than medical marijuana dispensaries, was Fiddler's Greens farm, located south of Sebastopol.

As of now two businesses have been granted permission by the city to sell adult-use cannabis, Solful and Peace in Medicine.

Litwin said he expects that to change as the Sebastopol City Council looks to update its cannabis ordinance.

"Assuming the council approves the ordinance, then other licensing types could be applied for," Litwin said.

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1/1/2018 is the new 4/20: Sebastopol okays pot shops

Sonoma West Times & News  •  Bleys Rose
December 21, 2017

"We're all moving forward," said Craig Litwin, a former two-term Sebastopol councilman who is now a cannabis business consultant.

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Sebastopol becomes 2nd Sonoma County city to approve recreational cannabis sales Jan. 1

The Press Democrat  •   Kevin Fixle
December 19, 2017

"As we've developed these rules over the years while I was on the council, Cotati, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and Sebastopol all kind of moved along as a herd," said Craig Litwin, former mayor of Sebastopol, and now of the 421 Group, a cannabis business consultancy. "Cloverdale now has joined in. And we're doing that again – Sebastopol, Cotati, Sonoma County, Santa Rosa – we're all moving forward."

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Sebastopol eagerly awaits sales tax dollars from pot sales

Sonoma West Times & News  •  Bleys Rose
December 12, 2017

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of people will be lined up on Jan. 1,” predicted Craig Litwin, who served on the Sebastopol council for eight years and is now a principal in the 421 Group, a Sebastopol-based consultancy for cannabis organizations.
Litwin said that, based on experience with Colorado’s legalization of recreational adult use, medical usage could amount to one-third of sales and recreational usage is the rest.

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Sebastopol City Council poised to approve rules for recreational cannabis sales

The Press Democrat  •  Julie Johnson
December 6, 2017

"We've led on this issue over the years … it makes sense to lead again," Craig Litwin, a former Sebastopol mayor, longtime medical marijuana activist and cannabis business consultant, told the Sebastopol council.

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Calm after the firestorm

Sonoma West Times & News  •  Amie Windsor, Rollie Atkinson
November 6, 2017

Elsewhere throughout the city, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members provided extra eyes on the neighborhoods, looking for any floating embers from the fires blowing smoke and ash from north Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley, according to CERT member and former mayor Craig Litwin.

"It was rewarding to see people gather together," Litwin said. "It restored my faith in humanity."

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cannabis country

Sonoma West Times & News  •  Jonah Raskin
September 8, 2017

Cannabis maven Craig Litwin told me that in the near future Sonoma and Healdsburg will both allow dispensaries, though he also argued that Sonoma County as a whole has a long way to go on the cannabis road.

A principal of the 421 Group and an ex-mayor of Sebastopol, Litwin points out that Rohnert Park has a casino, but no licensed dispensary. "The war on cannabis is deeply ingrained," he said. "But the promise of tax revenue will encourage jurisdictions to open their doors to cannabis."

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Cannabis businesses ask Sonoma County for more time to enter regulated market

The Press Democrat  •  Julie Johnson
August 23, 2017

"It's the most urgent matter I've seen before the Board of Supervisors," said Craig Litwin, a former mayor of Sebastopol and cannabis industry consultant. "The financial implications are severe for the farmers."

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Santa Rosa releases draft rules for medical cannabis

The Press Democrat  •  Kevin McCallum
July 4, 2017

Craig Litwin, a former mayor of Sebastopol and prominent cannabis industry consultant, said the effort looks promising.

"From a first glance, the ordinance appears very well-balanced," Litwin said. "I look forward to a deeper dive into the details and timeline."

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Sonoma County opens its doors for cannabis business applications July 5

The Press Democrat  •  Julie Johnson
June 29, 2017

"There is a scramble, certainly people are working to get their ducks in a row," said Craig Litwin, a cannabis consultant whose firm the 421 Group is helping clients navigate the county permitting process.

Litwin said his company's clients are mostly cultivators, of which "a solid handful" have their permits ready to be submitted on Wednesday, and "many others (are) waiting in the wings."

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Sparc Unifies Brand: Sonoma’s Peace in Medicine Becomes Sparc

Dope Magazine
May 25, 2017

"I am proud of how far local and state cannabis regulations have come. We are in a new era." said [Robert] Jacob. "Emblematic of this I am joining 421 Group, a local cannabis consultancy, to continue good work for the community."

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Santa Rosa’s Peace in Medicine merging with SPARC

The Press Democrat  •  Julie Johnson
May 22, 2017

[Robert] Jacob is joining a Sebastopol cannabis consultancy company, 421 Group.

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Santa Rosa cannabis business fuels land-use feud

The Press Democrat  •  Kevin McCallum
May 12, 2017

Fleuron's consultant, Craig Litwin, stressed that there will be no public access to the property, only for employees through electronic controlled gates, no money held on the property, two security guards on site during business hours and numerous security cameras.

"We're in line with the vision of the city," Litwin said. "We're following the rules."

The city does want the area to become residential someday, Litwin agreed, but wisely chose not to place so many restrictions on the industrial uses that the area will just "limp along."

"It doesn’t make sense to constrain it to the point where the area becomes inactive," Litwin said.

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Proposed ban on outdoor cannabis gardens returns to Santa Rosa City Council

The Press Democrat  •  Kevin McCallum
April 28, 2017

Cannabis consultant Craig Litwin, principle of 421 Group, urges a compromise.

"At a minimum, allowing patients to cultivate outdoors is preferred both for the climate and the pocketbook, as the sun is free," Litwin said. "Limiting outdoor cultivation areas for personal use to 100 square feet is a reasonable compromise."

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Sonoma County voters back cannabis business tax

The Press Democrat  •  Guy Kovner
March 7, 2017

Craig Litwin, a Sebastopol-based cannabis consultant, said the tax was likely to pass with low voter turnout and the absence of a sustained local opposition campaign.

"It's easy for voters to pass a cannabis tax as it impacts most people indirectly," he said. "Hopefully, supervisors will keep the tax rate low and consistent, allowing a regulated industry to take root."

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Santa Rosa council to weigh cannabis tax Tuesday

The Press Democrat  •  Kevin McCallum
March 5, 2017

"A fair tax is a good thing," said Craig Litwin, a Sebastopol consultant to cannabis organizations. "What we have to be cautious about is the combination of taxes and fees that are being called for from every direction."

Litwin has estimated that when all the various federal, state and local tax taxes under consideration are layered on top of one another, some in the industry could find themselves paying tax rates nearing 40 percent.

"It's moving in the right direction, but I'm still worried that it's a little high," Litwin said.

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Marijuana’s big day, 4/20, arrives in the wake of California’s legalization

The Press Democrat  •  Guy Kovner
April 19, 2017

Craig Litwin, a Sebastopol cannabis consultant, gives the day high marks.
"For me, 4/20 celebrates cannabis, the most diverse plant known to humans," he said. "One that provides medical relief, brings joyful recreation and can become thousands of essential industrial products."

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New law puts 3,000 Sonoma County cannabis cultivators in jeopardy

The Press Democrat  •  Guy Kovner
February 18, 2017

But Craig Litwin, a consultant to cannabis organizations and former Sebastopol councilman, said that while he appreciates the county's move to bring the marijuana industry under the law, "they have thrown the small grower under the bus."

"I've talked to many of them," Litwin said. "There’s a real fear for their families; how they're going to put food on the table."

Cultivators who can't obtain a county permit "will be stuck in the black market," he said.

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17 new businesses to check out in Sonoma County

The Press Democrat  •  Janet Balicki
February 13, 2017

421 Group, a cannabis business consulting firm, was launched by Craig Litwin (pictured here), a two-time Sebastopol City Council Member, and Angie Monette Harrison of Citizens for Responsible Access.

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Sonoma County’s proposed cannabis business tax heads to voters

The Press Democrat  •  Guy Kovner
February 11, 2017

The 15 percent state tax, plus a 10 percent county cannabis cultivation and 5 percent manufacturing tax, piled onto an existing 8 percent sales tax rate, would total 38 percent, said Craig Litwin, a Sebastopol consultant to cannabis organizations.

"That tax is way too high," he said, calling it a "cash overreach."

Litwin, who said he is advising people to vote against the tax, said the pot industry is "ready to pay its fair share. Unfortunately, every branch of government has its hand out."

The county could begin taking permit applications ahead of the tax vote, as Santa Rosa has already done, Litwin said.

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Year in Review: North Coast braces for change as marijuana industry stakes out legal future

The Press Democrat  •  Guy Kovner
December 31, 2016

"It’s been a fantastic year of transformation and transition," said Craig Litwin, a Sebastopol consultant to cannabis organizations. The industry is already worth billions of dollars, and Litwin said the California mandate reflects the drug's wider acceptance, part of what he contends is a global shift in attitude.

Most people now "see marijuana as a substance they are comfortable with," he said.

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Sebastopol consultant forges career in crusade to legalize marijuana

The Press Democrat  •  Guy Kovner
October 30, 2016

"We have to stop treating cannabis as a criminal issue. It's a plant that folks should have a right to access," said [Craig] Litwin, who has spent his entire adult life working to break down prohibition.

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Should marijuana be legalized in California? A look at Proposition 64

The Press Democrat  •  Guy Kovner
October 16, 2016

Craig Litwin, a Sebastopol cannabis consultant, said he was concerned that Proposition 64 allows "gigantic grows that would eventually wipe out mom and pop growers."

Nonetheless, he said the measure was "mostly positive," noting that it permits the Legislature to amend major provisions, including cultivation licensing standards, with a simple majority vote, an allowance that is rare for initiatives that are typically locked into the wording presented to voters.

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The Press Democrat  •  Robert Digitale
September 11, 2016

421 Group, a consulting firm for cannabis businesses, has opened in Sebastopol. Its principals are Craig Litwin a two-term member of the Sebastopol City Council, and Angie Monette Harrison, a founder of Citizens for Responsible Access, a California PAC focusing on cannabis policy.

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421 Group image.png

421 Group Opens Its Doors

421 Group
September 7, 2016

Based in Sebastopol and opening its doors today, 421 Group is a boutique consultancy that offers planning, strategy, and development services to help innovative cannabis organizations succeed.

"As the West Coast marches toward full legalization, it's timely and appropriate to reshape economics to have a moral compass," says Craig Litwin. "In an era of global warming and economic strife, the people behind cannabis must hold progressive values."

Our experienced consultants brings decades of experience fulfilling critical business, operational, legal, compliance, and marketing needs.

"We've assembled a core team of professionals of every stripe, including business strategists, finance consultants, and branding experts," says Angie Monette Harrison. "These skills are vital to startups' success and invaluable to established operations."

421 Group principals Litwin and Harrison are experienced cannabis advocates and share many past successes. They have helped bring cultivators into compliance, secure dispensary permits, eliminate caps on dispensary-patient allowances, and develop strategic plans for cannabis entities.

Litwin served as a two-term Sebastopol councilmember, serving twice as mayor, and is currently running as a write-in candidate for city council. Harrison has supported the internationally recognized SPARC and Peace in Medicine dispensaries and is a founder of Citizens for Responsible Access, a California PAC for sound cannabis policy.

"As an industry, we're in transitional times and some are asking how to survive," explains Litwin. "We're asking how they can be the next big thing in cannabis."