Nevada County: Home of Sustainable Cannabis
California will implement adult-use cannabis in 2018. However, legalization at the state level left a lot of work at the local level. Each community has the opportunity to write its own regulations. Nevada County recently put together a Community Advisory Group (CAG) to help guide us forward as California legalizes cannabis. Our founder has been working behind the scenes to help create sustainable regulations for our community.
Nevada County Cannabis Facts
Fact: Cannabis is a part of Nevada County and it’s not going away. However, we can choose to regulate it into a benefit to our community.
Fact: Discussing plant counts and the current interim ordinance is a waste of time and resources when there are regulations and license types detailed on the state level. The assembly trailer bill was passed less than two weeks ago, merging both Adult Use and MCRSA into SB94 (MAUCRSA). We need to educate ourselves on what is happening to cannabis in the sixth largest economy in the world, not what has happened. It’s time to move forward.
Fact: Prop 215 was passed in 1996 and it gave patients the right to cultivate medical cannabis. However, it failed to legislate patient collectives, which forced many cultivators to operate in a gray area. I, like many others in Nevada County, am one of those cultivators. I have done everything possible to navigate the intricacies of these regulations and I’m continuing to do so in this transitional year.
Fact: Cannabis is still susceptible to fear-based propaganda. Our culture and our livelihood are attacked time and time again. It’s time to move beyond fear and acknowledge the new reality of cannabis: the patients, the consumers, and the data. For example, the largest consumer base of cannabis statewide and beyond is the baby boomer generation, 58 years and older. This momentum is not going away.
Fact: There are people in the local cannabis movement that we need to look to during this process. We’re shaping a new industry that will have profound effects on our community’s environmental health, economic viability, and local culture. We also have the opportunity to be a major influence at the state level.
Why We Need Cannabis in Nevada County
I invite everyone to look at what is happening on a state level and identify what a responsible and conscious cultivator and entrepreneur looks like locally. I have cultivated in this community for seven years and I own properties here. Over the years, I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on goods and services at local businesses such as:
- Hills Flat
- B and C Lumber
- Peaceful Valley
- Hansen Brothers Equipment Rental
- Green Bros
- Pearsons Motors
- Peters Well
- Vital Garden Supply
- Ag Natural
- A to Z Plumbing
- Sierra Plumbing
- Riebes Auto Supply
- Ace Welding
- Suburban Propane
- Every restaurant in Grass Valley and Nevada City
I have employed countless skilled technicians, e.g. excavators, electricians, plumbers, solar power companies, graphic designers, IT resources, etc. I have countless invoices to support these claims. Cannabis makes a real, measurable contribution to the economic viability of this county, as well as to the state of California.
Medicine Box in Nevada County
In 2016, in the face of the movement to legitimize and legalize cannabis in the state of California, I decided to develop a multi-faceted cannabis brand. I build my company here, despite the changing local ordinances, because I see the entrepreneurial opportunity Nevada County offers. I want to keep my business local, where I can have a profound impact on the local community, the ecosystem, and the patients and consumers I serve. However, I also want my voice to reach beyond our local community to the state level. Furthermore, I need the ability to collaborate with like-minded individuals and to execute innovative and conscious business practices that serve the planet and the people in it.
Before the recent CAG meeting, SYRCL filmed a portion of their documentary of cannabis in this county at my homestead. They chose my farm because of the organic and sustainable best management practices we deploy there, the minimal environmental impact we have displayed, and our zero water discharge. (That means that no water runs off into the native ground below.) We also discussed the costs and economic data as well as the socially responsible business practices we prioritize. (We work for people, the planet, and profits, in that order. A percentage of our crop is cultivated for the Caladrius Network, a well-known and outspoken non-profit organization here in Nevada County that serves catastrophically ill children and their families.)
Proof of Concept: Sustainable Cannabis
I work with a multitude of engaging minds, including a Ph.D. horticulturist, to assist me with my proof of concept. I collaborate because I am smart enough, eager enough, and open-minded enough to understand that I cannot do this alone. We need scientific professionals who understand conventional farming tactics and possess practical wisdom from decades of experience. We focus on the cottage grow specialty type 1C, or “specialty cottage”. That means we use a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to be determined by the licensing authority of 2,500 square feet or less of total canopy size for mixed-light cultivation, up to 25 mature plants for outdoor cultivation, or 500 square feet or less of total canopy size for indoor cultivation, on one premises as defined in AB 2516.
Executing our proof of concept allows us to take action in a very pivotal year. However, that gives us the opportunity to build a platform for a diverse network of cottage growers in Nevada County. It also provides a tangible demonstration of best management practices for the cottage grow plant canopy.
We strive to demonstrate what a “good actor” is and how they present themselves in the cannabis space. Many of my peers fear legal retribution, but I do not. It’s time to get out of the meeting room and see for yourself what an actual cannabis permaculture homestead conducted by a passionate team looks and feels like. With the proper educational tools, we can mitigate the fear-based stigmas and help our community move forward.
Medicine Box Demonstration Site
In conclusion, I offer my cultivation site and its data as a tool to the Community Advisory Group, MIG, and the Board of Supervisors. I can demonstrate the key points of discussion: setbacks, variances, plant count vs canopy, mixed light greenhouses, license types, best management practices, and the cultural, social, political, and environmental best practices that my team executes. There is a lot of talk in this community of what is, what should be, and what could be, but not enough action. My team and I took action to build a brand in this county because I trust that we’ll work everything out in a positive fashion and see the light ahead. I do not want to stand on the sidelines when I know I am doing the right thing.
I extend an invitation to all CAG members and interested parties to visit my demonstration site. See for yourselves that the current face of cannabis can deploy ethical practices that take all stakeholders into consideration with a deep understanding of the big picture. How about we showcase physical evidence, instead of circular discussions based on propaganda, and incorporate this request as a scientifically, economically, and socially responsible data-driven pilot program during this ongoing process?