Mendocino's Missing Cannabis Czar Goes For A Walk In The Desert -- And Resigns

Jun 21, 2018

June 21, 2018 -- UPDATE: Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg and Sheri Johnson of the Mendocino County Human Resources department said this morning that Kelly Overton chose to resign. "We accepted his resignation and we wish him well," Hamburg said. Johnson said Overton was "moving on to other projects." Overton's resignation is effective as of June 20.

June 20, 2018 -- Kelly Overton, Mendocino County's Cannabis Program Manager, announced on Facebook that he is walking in the desert to raise money for immigrants and refugees. "My (late June) summer vacation is going to be a long hot walk from Palm Springs to Mexicali," he wrote.


Meanwhile, county Supervisors, CEO Carmel Angelo, and all county staff who have been approached by the press have been tight-lipped about Overton's whereabouts. Members of the cannabis working groups met with Overton on June 7. They expected him to present the Board of Supervisors with a "matrix" of the issues they have been trying to resolve, from transferability of ownership to amending the county ordinance to align with state regulations. Overton was a no-show at a special Board of Supervisors cannabis meeting on June 12, where Cannabis Program Administrator Chevon Holmes told the board that people are withdrawing from the program, possibly because they are learning more about their parcels from state regulators. He was still missing on June 19, when the cannabis update was buried on page 7 of the CEO's report.

This is not the first time Overton has gone into the desert for a worthy cause. In 2016, he walked from Joshua Tree to Las Vegas "to bring attention to the environmental protection needs of the Mojave Desert," according to his Wikipedia page. He has raised $280 of his $5,000 goal in the current fundraising effort.

On March 13, during his first cannabis update to the Board, Overton assured Supervisor John McCowan that, under his expedited system of processing cannabis cultivation permits, the cannabis program could bring in a quarter of a million dollars by the end of the fiscal year.

According to the county budget dated May 25, cannabis business tax revenue was 44% below projections for FY 2017/18.