Randall Longwith not only represents four of Santa Ana’s licensed dispensaries, but he was also a leading character in the approval of Measure BB back in 2015, Santa Ana’s medical marijuana initiative, by gathering signatures to get it on the ballot. After Measure BB won and the lottery to determine who got to open a dispensary took place, he organized the winners into the Santa Ana Collective Association to differentiate the legal dispensaries from the rogue ones. Longwith is also the director of the Orange County chapter of Americans for Safe Access, the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
But his work extends much further than just Santa Ana. Since 2013, Longwith has focused on bringing regulatory frameworks to municipalities in California. He played a defining role in Adelanto’s cannabis structure, a city in San Bernardino that now allows cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and testing. He also backed Costa Mesa’s Measure X last November, which opens the city’s borders to testing, manufacturing, distribution and processing, as well as research and development of medical marijuana. Although Measure X doesn’t yet allow for the cultivation or retail sale of medical cannabis, the possibility for legal dispensaries and grow ops is still in the cards for the years to come.
Longwith works closely with California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, the Board of Equalization, State and Federal Legislators, municipal leaders and public agencies as an advocate and legal voice for cannabis professionals. Educating his clients—and, thus, cities—on the benefits of professional cannabis operations has also become an integral part of his job. One area he’s spent time educating municipalities in is the age in which people are legally allowed to obtain medical cannabis—particularly veterans. Right now the legal age to acquire cannabis is 21. But vets often come home from war before that age (and with severe trauma and ailments, like PTSD) and have to go with their parents to the dispensary in order to get medication. Although cannabis has made massive strides in Orange County over the last several years, kinks in the framework still exist, which is what Longwith hopes to help iron out.
With 2018 going down as the year of recreational cannabis in California, Longwith has carved out a place in SoCal’s green-rush history.