San Andreas, CA – As the distinctive somewhat “skunkish” smell of harvest-ready marijuana plants continues wafting through Calaveras County, details of who’s growing it and where are being made available to the public.
Clarke Broadcasting, which made a formal request under the Public Records Act for a commercial growers list, talked earlier this week with Planning Director Peter Maurer. He implied that public-friendly information would shortly be released after being approved through the county counsel’s office. Besides hearing from media, queries from residents concerned about neighbor activities demonstrated a level of public interest.
Since the medical cannabis grower application packets required for registration under the county’s urgency regulatory ordinance contain a lot of private information, sharing them “as is” was not remotely possible. Due to the department’s work overload processing nearly a thousand bulky parcels from registrants aspiring to establish legal grows, Maurer admitted that it took some time to parse details from them all into a document appropriate for public viewing.
Commercial Growers’ Details A Click Away
The list is now available on the Planning Department’s website, findable under the Medical Cannabis tab from the main page, where a click provides access to a .pdf report. It is also available by clicking here.
Among the noteworthy takeaways, listed among the county’s commercial growers are former county supervisor Tom Tryon and Calaveras County Water District Board Chairman Terrance Strange.
Although it is fairly obvious that a concentration of grow sites are located in and around the Mountain Ranch area, grows are, literally, dotted throughout the county. Chances are if you can smell pot in the air around you, someone is growing it nearby. An impressive number of grow sites are listed as with a 22,000 square-feet canopy, the maximum size allowable under the county’s urgency ordinance. “Mixed Light,” or indoor grows are in evidence on rural parcels and alongside major and secondary roads, alike.
Cannabis Companies: Smokelumne, Butte Fire Buds
Quite a few of the listed commercial grows with tongue-in-cheek names bring a chuckle. Strange has dubbed his operation Smokelumne. Butte Fire Buds, Grandpa’s Medicinal Gardens and Illuminated Endeavors are among other colorful choices. The document, which shows a total of 997 grows, was created after sorting entries in ascending order by an internal Planning Department application number. While this unsortable method of delivering the goods makes viewing it a bit cumbersome, the report includes a fair amount of details regarding the county’s 700-plus commercial grow applications.
Among these are the name of the registrant(s); business moniker; parcel number; street address; town; zip code; also the grow-type by light source and canopy size. While applications for personal and caregiver grows are also included, the information is limited to the town, zip code, grow light source and size.
While no more commercial grows may be added under the urgency ordinance unless and until a permanent regulatory ordinance is enacted, new personal and caregiver applications may be submitted to the Planning Department by those with legal medical marijuana recommendations.
List Includes Application Status
Along with the above-described details, the list indicates the status of each registration application. Planning officials explain that “Pending” means the application packet has been submitted and is awaiting review by a staff member. The process includes making sure that the application is complete; site plans are consistent with zoning; also that submitted photographic and other evidence agrees with aerial photography of the county taken between May 15 and June 10, which confirms the grow was legally established by the cut-off date.
Once “Verified,” grow applications are further scrutinized as site inspections are conducted, generating reports and follow-ups, including from Environmental Health personnel. The Sheriff’s Office Co-compliance staff also runs background and reviews Live Scan fingerprint checks. So far only two commercial grows have received certificates of registration while the majority of the others remain in the process.
Speaking of processes, most of the denied grows are still within the appeal stage, according to Planning Department officials. Once initially denied, applicants must send an appeal letter within 15 days for the board of directors to review. To date, that board has upheld every one of the over two dozen appeals made before it. This week, the board of supervisors heard three of those; upholding the denial of one while approving another and continuing the third.
As reported here, Maurer provided a status report earlier this week to the supervisors. Pointing out that the program is still in its infancy and the necessary infrastructure to track and enforce compliance is still under development, he conceded that many cultivators not in compliance this year may reap the benefits of what could be illegal grows.