By Alex Schwantner
The area known as the Emerald Triangle holds a reputation for its ongoing history as a hub for cannabis cultivation. Now, nearly 20 years after California’s Medical Marijuana Program roll out, the region’s first licenses for commercial cannabis production have been issued.
Mendocino county approved licenses for two substantial grow operations – Honeydew farms LLC and Blessed Coast LLC – seen by some as the start of a new era for the cannabis industry.
Unsurprisingly voices of concern were raised, in particular those of some cannabis advocacy groups concerned the county is catering largely to big businesses.
Taking effect last February, Humboldt county’s commercial medical marijuana program sets land use regulations and establishes a permitting system for cultivation, processing and manufacturing operations. The county’s program was created in compliance with California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety act which created a state-wide licensing system expected to take effect in 2018. Hopeful cannabis business owners must be licensed on both state and local levels.
Alex Moore along with his wife Miranda own Honeydew Ranch where they had been cultivating shy of an acre of cannabis prior to the county’s permitting system implementation. With the approval of their license they seek to expand their operation to seven acres of outdoor grow space. Moore stated that some of the space will be leased to other growers and with plans for vertical integration they aim to be an “all-inclusive company”
“We decided that it was time to come out as supporters of this industry,” he said. “I’m a businessman and entrepreneur and this is just a business opportunity that we’re going to take advantage o. I have no moral issues with cannabis. I think the world is a better place because of it.”
Due to the size of the operation Moore was seeking to establish, additional approval by the County Planning Commission was necessary. Approval was gained in a 4 to 1 vote with state and local support.
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