A vehicle donation from a cannabis entity to a Calaveras organization that received federal funds sparked a conundrum this week.

Kristin Millhoff, executive director of the Area 12 Agency on Aging, said discussions to extend a contract proposal for Common Ground Senior Services, which provides congregate dining, transportation and home-delivered meals to senior citizens in Calaveras County, were pushed off during last week’s Joint Powers Authority Board of Directors meeting.

She said the continuance was scheduled so representatives in Amador, Tuolumne, Calaveras and Mariposa counties could check in with legal counsels to determine whether any federal funding could be at risk if Common Ground was to accept a vehicle provided by the Calaveras Cannabis Alliance when marijuana remains illegal according to the federal government.

“This is just a delay. Supervisor Clyde Clapp (the Calaveras representative on the JPA) and other supervisors want to be cautious to make sure we’re not going to jeopardize federal funds in any way,” Millhoff said. “We want to be able to act accordingly.”

“I was upset they’d take the car without clearing it to see if it wouldn’t jeopardize federal funding,” Clapp said.

Common Ground Senior Services was set to receive $123,000 for the home-delivered meal program, $9,647 for congregate meals and $15,000 for senior transportation. Millhoff said the organization can still receive it and it isn’t too late. An approval next month would endorse the money by the start of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Kathi Toepel, the associate director for the Calaveras Office of Common Ground Senior Services, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In a statement, Trevor Wittke, a CCA spokesman, said it was never the intention of the alliance to cause any problems for Common Ground Senior Services or to complicate its job. He said CCA will support whatever decision Common Ground makes regarding the matter.

“We believe the well-being of the county’s most vulnerable and isolated citizens is more important than where you stand with regard to the cannabis issue,” he said. “Support for the services provided by Common Ground is an issue where we, as a community, should be able to find common ground.”


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