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Sonoma County Gazette
Some Gratonites gathered on 10/20
Some Gratonites gathered on 10/20 to show opposition to the Industrial Cannabis project.


Oct 30, 2018
by Jennifer Butler


Greetings Graton

I am writing this portion in response to Freeman Young’s (Jackalope Gardens) letter to the residents of Graton stating his intentions and purpose for developing a large INDUSTRIAL CANNABIS MANUFACTURING PLANT in the little Village of Graton along the West County Trail.

While, it is a well-written letter it reminds me of the old saying that you can’t put lipstick on a pig. In theletter he states that he is so innocently and simply “attempting to create the best medicine for people”. Sorry, Freeman but I don’t care how pretty you word it with all your decorative fluff; this project is not compatible with the village of Graton PLEASE! Don't hide behind your claim of "best medicine". This is incredibly arrogant of you! Do you know what my “best medicine” is? It’s that the investment, I clawed my way to have, is protected, it’s that I have as little crime in my neighborhoodhas possible, it’s that animals and people pass safely through, that my sense of community stays intact and that the reason, I moved here 17 years ago is still here 17 years from now. My “best medicine” is serenity and peace of mind and your project conflicts. Not just for me but for 100s of Graton residents. I work in Santa Rosa and every day pass building after building of vacant appropriately zoned buildings. You insisting on building here in spite of not being welcome proves that you only want the “best medicine” for you. I thought you were a gardenernot a doctor so don’t try and prescribe your snake oil to this community.I say “no way” to this project!


Jackalope Gardens submitted a permit to develop a 13-acre parcel adjacent to the West County Trail for an industrial cannabis project. For the full drawings please CLICK HERE.

This permit includes plans for

  • Eighteen greenhouses
  • 30 Parking spaces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 8 ft. Perimeter Fence
  • 12 Water Storage Tanks
  • Two commercial buildings = 5050 sq. ft.
  • Security station and camera surveillance
  • All to access from Railroad Street

This is in inappropriate location for this project and the village of Graton is making it loud and clear that it isn’t welcome here.They want to distinguish that this isn’t a dispute regarding the legalization or use of cannabis but rather question of safety, health and neighborhood compatibility. OnSaturday Oct 20th, Jackalope and their legal representation were supposed to hold a public meeting where they would “answer all questions” but they were a no show. Instead, they posted a note stating that out of respect of civil discourse they would be rescheduling but as Graton resident Natalia Chamaki states “canceling a meeting that people changed their schedules to attend and delaying people’s right to information actually makes civil discourse more aggressive”. Since the cancellation was posted sometime after midnight, the gathering still had a large turnout. Many people brought their children to show Jackalope that this was a place for families’ not industrial cannabis production. 

Objections to the project assert that access to the site relies on an inadequate road to support an industrial business. Railroad Street is a narrow and poorly maintained road that has no place to turn around and is frequently flooded. In truth it isn’t adequate or safe for residential use much less as a commercial thoroughfare.

The proposed location is adjacent to the much-loved West County Trail which is enjoyed by residents throughout Sonoma County and a far. Every day, you can see hundreds of people using this trail. This project grossly damages the current use of this space. How do we have our children and families within feet of a business that actually increases violent crime? How do we go from having a beautiful and natural people friendly space to a guarded facility? What about thedepreciated view by adding 30 parking spaces and large industrial buildings? Regardless, if the buildings developed can be hidden with vegetation after some years there is still a great conflict to the existing use of the trail.

What about the safety of having a product in production that is highly sought after by criminals for black-market after-sales? How can they even want to bring that to our community? I don’t say this lightly. I have done hours of research examining published statistics showing an increase of violent crimes. This proposal is outrageous! 8th grader and Graton resident Helene voiced her concern saying, “We have this little neighborhood and now we are going to have armed guards?” Her sister Evelyn joined in letting us know that a group of children from 1st – 5th grade walk to Oak Grove School on a nearby route and she wonders if they will still be able to walk to and from school safely.

It is my understanding that already the wrong address was published which listed resident Cary Fargo’s guest house as the office for Jackalope. That isn’t making him feel very safe. He reminds me that tax payers are paying for “the quite enjoyment of trail” and that this project isn’t compatible with the existing use. Evidentially Jackalope has never contacted anyone in the neighborhood with their intended use during the several months that the property was in escrow and only came forthe th when opposition was raised. However, they now claim that they “aim for full transparency” Umm too late! Jackalope, the neighbors in proximity to the proposed project have attempted to contact you and had no response!

Not even Supervisor Lynda Hopkins’s Office knew of these plans

Remember this is not “farming,” this is industrial application that requires processing of product and 24-hour security. This isn’t growing apples or grapes. They are trying to put manufacturing on a parcel of land zoned agricultural, next to a public park, in proximately to an elementary school and next door to people’s homes!

There is a lot of information being put regarding this that references various laws, but I haven’t validated them yet. I can hardly keep up with the information coming in. I am going to use the next month to gather the legal facts and then report. I don’t want to write something that isn’t accurate. I know that new cannabis regulations were recently decided by the Board of Supervisors, although that meeting did not address this project specifically.

Please voice your concerns by e-mailing your Supervisors:

Subject Line: UPC18-0044/2595 Railroad St.

address it to:
and cc it to:

As Graton resident Joe Howard wrote “If you are a neighbor, or if you are concerned about your quality of life being downgraded, or your property values plummeting, speak up. This kind of development belongs in commercial areas along transportation corridors where security gates, lights and kiosks are a regular occurrence, not on the edge of a village adjacent to wetlands, a creek and a walking/biking trail. Ask your Supervisors to make policy pertaining to protecting neighborhoods from cannabis operations”.

I did reach out to Jackalope Farms and as of this publication have not had a response. To be continued…


Tanner and Wyatt Boy Scout Troop 150 helping keep it clean at the Graton Green Group Gathering.The Graton Green Group would like to thank everyone who came to the September 30th Graton Green Gathering, a third annual celebration of Graton's new green.  Thank you to Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Sarah Emerson of the Stone Creek Zin Center and the children of Graton who cut the ribbon around the old water tower which will become the Graton Green Amphitheater (naming rights are still available).  Also, many thanks go to the Graton Fire Protection Water District who provided fire hats and other treats for the children. 

It was wonderful to have Orrin and Terri Thiessen along with Susan Ballinger, Chair of the GGG Design Committee to answer questions about the new Graton Green and The Green Valley Village.  The Bohemian Creamery and Mexico Linda, along with local baker provided wonderful food and desserts.  Local troubadour Chris Riebli with local bands The Rogers, New Skye and the Hubbub Club provided the perfect music for the day.  Bowman and Purple Wines donated classic wines and Lagunitas Brewery provided their distinctive beers. 

There were so many wonderful volunteers who worked to make the event happen that it's not possible to list them all, but that's Graton for you - an involved community shaped by volunteerism since its inception in the early 1900's.  Thank you to all of you who have worked since 2007 to create a park for Graton.  HolLynn D'Lil, on behalf of the Graton Green Group,a non-profit whose sole purpose is the creation of a park in Graton.

Please let me know if there is something that you would like me to know or write about. You can reach me

Feeling Graton by Jennifer Butler


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