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UPDATED Plan Drawings for Proposed CBD cannabis farm
UPDATED Plan Drawings for Proposed CBD cannabis farm and processing business.

Jackalope Gardens Proposal for
Cannabis Operation in Graton
FAQ for Concerned Residents

Nov 30, 2018

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Dear Graton Residents:

Thanks for taking the time to read this Q&A. Before you do so, I’d like to sincerely apologize to you for the pain that this discussion has generated in your community. I empathize with and honor your collective instinct to fight to protect your homes, the homes of the many beings on this land, and the land herself.

This document is comprised of answers to all of the questions posed to us by community members over the past 3 weeks. I hope the information that follows is helpful to you.

Sincerely, Hadas, Community Liaison for Jackalope Gardens

Organic, Permaculture Cultivation

Will you be growing 100% organically?

Yes, we will be growing 100% organically. We have a garden plan that meets the Demeter standard, which is considered the highest standard in organic farming. Learn more about Demeter specifications here:https://www.demeter-usa.org/learn-more/

The organic methods we use are regenerative, also known as permaculture. We will never use any herbicides, pesticides or anything that would be considered hazardous in our farming practice. Our Conditional Use Permit (CUP) includes a plan for dealing with “Hazardous Materials” and we completely understand why this was triggering for people to see. Any references to “Hazardous Materials” are included to answer questions from County’s CUP application. The only hazardous material we will use is fuel for our tractor. We will never use a substance that is not Salmon Safe, Clean Green and Demeter organic.

Ecological sustainability is the responsibility of every cannabis grower. Our garden strives to be an example of ecological stewardship by maintaining effective and efficient systems that reclaim water and solid waste into the plant cycle. Freeman, our head gardener, takes a craftsman’s approach to nurturing the growing medium and its microbiome so that the cannabis flower produced in Sonoma’s unparalleled soils remains the world’s finest quality.

Many residents have wondered if you would be willing to sign an agreement/condition for the permit that says you will not spray any toxic inorganic chemicals in the area and that you commit to organic practices. Would you be willing to commit to this as a condition of the permit?

Yes, Jackalope Gardens would happily sign a binding agreement stating that we will never use any product that isn’t organic certified.

We have recently been notified that the pumpkin patches have been sprayed with chemical fungicides. We’ve sent a Public Records Request to the Department of Agriculture, and will publish the official results as soon as we have them.

We have a zero-tolerance chemical pesticide, herbicide, fungicide policy, and will bioremediate all of the soil, on both sides of the trail.

I saw the list of organic clean-certified pesticides you plan to use - Regalia, OG Biowarand Venerate. These all seem like clean products, but then your application continues on and says you may need to use fertilizers - are these fertilizers all going to be certified organic?

Yes, all fertilizers will be certified organic. In fact, the “fertilizers” we plan to use are of our own creation and would be better described as “super soils” and “compost teas” crafted from our own garden’s organic substances. From time to time, we may also use organic nitrogen-fixers, like fish powder or seaweed based concentrates.

Are you only growing medical CBD strains or are you growing other high THC strains as well? Is everything grown on-site for medical use only?

Jackalope Gardens plans to grow primarily CBD strains that are intended for medical use. These cultivars are targeting medical users such as pain relief, seizure disorders and sleeping aids. Some will be a mix of high CBD and high THC 1-1 ( 15% to 15%) ratios. And some will be just a high CBD with a very low THC, closer to the Hemp varieties. Hemp is any variety with less than 5% THC. Some will be above 20% CBD and below 5% THC. We are building our business on the medical benefits of Cannabis. All our cultivars have at least 3% of CBD. All of our unique cultivars are bred to be Medicine first.

Many California citizens suffer from debilitating medical conditions or experience severe side effects from conventional medical therapies. Due to evidence-based medical research, cannabis products are now widely accepted in the medical community as an optimal treatment option for many conditions that conventional medicine cannot treat effectively. Medical cannabis can be an effective form of alternative therapy for patients suffering from a variety of debilitating conditions, from pain relief to psychological conditions like PTSD, and can improve quality of life for many of them.

In order to help people find new ways to make life with serious medical conditions livable through alternative therapies such as medical cannabis, physicians must be as informed about a patient’s options as they would with traditional medication. To strengthen the knowledge base around medical cannabis treatment and provide effective, targeted care for patients, we’ll will communicate with physicians and dispensaries on effective treatment options for various chronic conditions. Our team will support the medical community in California in supplying patients with the most effective medicine. By soliciting feedback from the medical community about their patient populations, we will be able to tailor cultivars to target specific illnesses and conditions.

Our goal is to be able to supply a consistent and diverse range of high quality medical- grade cannabis to accommodate and target the qualifying conditions and symptoms of patients.

Jackalope Gardens will crossbreed and cultivate proprietary cultivars of medical cannabis that may provide relief from the most common conditions that qualify to receive treatment with medical cannabis.

Can you give us more details about your soil inputs?

We are committed to the highest standards of cultivation inputs. By following rigorous protocols of regenerative farming and Best Management Practices (BMP’s), we will maintain the highest quality of plants produced and mitigates the risk of wasted production. Part of this commitment to quality will include our ongoing organic certifications, including Salmon Safe & Demeter Certification, which indicates the following:

  • The product has been grown to standards that meet or exceed the standards used by the USDA in awarding organic certification, and is thus “organic” by nature
  • No synthetic inputs or pesticides have been used at any point of the production/cultivation process
  • Production methods are environmentally & salmon-safe
  • That all processes involved during the cultivation are in full compliance with local and state

We have a strict gardening policy of only using and reusing clean organic substances to create sustainable resources and prevent any type of harmful environmental impact.

This includes our compost & soils. We will use custom built and mixed ‘super soils’ in all pots and all flowering beds as a primary growing medium. These soils are designed to be continually built upon and improve over time using permaculture methods of recycling all refused and pruned plant matter back into the soil for worms and bacteria to process back into food for the plants. Cover cropping during off seasons to keep it alive and thriving. Top dressing with rice straw and composted materials from on and off site.

Mycorrhizae and compost teas will be added to the growing medium, increasing its mass through a blend of symbiotic organisms. These living additions are a mixture of organic beneficial microbes along with worms which are used to break down old plant material and provide nutrition. These microbes provide aeration so oxygen can reach further to penetrate more into the plants roots. They also capture nitrogen and help make phosphorus more available. Mycorrhizae will be used throughout the entire plant cultivation cycle added to the water.

Do you have any future plans to grow in the soil rather than greenhouses and containers?

Yes, we will be planting in the ground! But first we will be planting both fields with plants that will leech (bio remediate) chemicals from the ground. Then we'll harvest and dispose of the plants that absorbed pesticide residue left over in the ground from the previous owners. After that we’ll utilize a technique called Hugelkultur (https://richsoil.com/hugelkultur/) as a no-till, low-water alternative to modern farming.

Hugelkultur is an even more eco-friendly version of permaculture that has the added benefit of returning carbon to the soil as opposed to the atmosphere.

If your project is indeed just a garden, why did you call it a “Huge Industrial Project” on your CUP?

We did not include that phrase anywhere in our application.

I read on a letter posted by [neighbors] that you’ll be manufacturing onsite. This is unacceptable if true. What can you tell me about this? 

No. A manufacturing business is a completely different operation. Cannabis manufacturing is regulated by the California Dept. of Public Health, whereas cultivation is regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. It is a different license type and requires a different permit application. We are not manufacturing and have never alluded to the idea of doing so.

Isn’t “processing” just another word for “manufacturing?”

 No. Sonoma County defines a manufacturing facility as “a location that produces, prepares, propagates, or compounds manufactured medical cannabis or medical cannabis products, directly or indirectly, by extraction methods, independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and is owned and operated by a licensee for these activities.”

By contrast, processing refers to the acts by which “medical cannabis is dried, cured, graded, trimmed, and/or packaged by or under the control of one or more licensed cultivators.”

Why do you have a processing facility onsite?

‘Processing’ is harvesting, hang-drying, once dry, clipping the flowers from the stems, weighing, and assigning tags to batch containers. All of this activity takes place in a small barn-like building. As soon as the products are ready, they are driven to a distribution center in a van-- not trucks.

Why do you want to do this project in this area?

Our lead gardener wanted to return home to Sonoma County, and also felt that this land would support our mission of growing the best possible medicine for patients. The land’s zoning size and reclaimed water resource, proximity to the ocean and fog, along with

Sonoma County’s natural complex soil compositions and abundant sunshine throughout the year, Sonoma County has one of the most unique natural environments on the West Coast. An ideal environment for cannabis cultivation. As the first generation of legally registered cannabis farmers comes into the light, Jackalope Gardens respects and appreciates the responsibility it has to the land and is committed to doing everything possible to conserve and maintain this exceptional natural environment for generations to come.

Led by a second-generation Sonoma farmer with decades of regenerative cultivation experience, we value our position as an early standard-bearer for an industry coming into the light of local and state regulation.

Minimal, Respectful, and Collaborative Use of Surrounding Area

The upper field near Edison St. - Will you allow the current pumpkin farmers to still grow there and continue using toxic pesticides? What do you plan to do with that field? Is there a possibility that the grow operations would expand to that side at some point as well which would increase traffic on Edison St. as well as Railroad St.?

No, we have absolutely no intention of growing cannabis on the upper field near Edison Street. We will either turn it into a Community Garden for Graton, or restore it to its natural state. However, since the field was possibly being sprayed with toxic pesticides prior to our purchasing it, we will need to remediate the soil before we grow any fruits or vegetables on it.

Will you be using Edison street as a thoroughfare for traffic to and from your operation at all? Is there any potential of this in the future? We bought our house because it is on a dead end street and so little traffic so that is something that is concerning to us. We have friends on Railroad Street who I know are obviously concerned about that issue as well.

During the initial build-out phase, we’ll have a few truckloads coming down Railroad Street. This will occur over the span of a few days, at maximum. Once these shipments have been completed, the only regular traffic will be from our employees. We will have between 4 and 10 employees on-site per-day, and will provide an employee carpool service to limit daily traffic. After the buildout, we will not have trucks coming and going.

During harvest, for our outdoor cultivation once a year, we will have roughly 10 additional people for a period of about two weeks. To mitigate impact, we will use a van to shuttle extra workers to our site. We will not be using Edison St. as a thoroughfare.

What are the hours of operation? Will people be working or coming/going at night after business hours and on weekends?

Our hours of operation are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. People will not be working or coming/going after hours. We will still be gardening on weekends, but we have no heavy machinery or any means to create much noise at all.

Preserving and Protecting The Land and Other Inhabitants

Will chemical inputs from the garden run off into the creek?

No, chemical inputs from the garden will not run off into the creek because we don't use chemicals to grow our plants. We're an organic, permaculture garden. The only chemical that we’ll have on-site will be diesel for our tractor.

Will your fencing cause an increase in roadkill around the property, which is a natural wildlife corridor?

No. We will utilize wildlife friendly fencing, that will allow animals to have access to water, shelter and foraging. Along the creekside wildlife corridor the fencing will align with the following specifications:

  1. Top wire is no more than 42 inches high;
  2. Bottom wire is no lower than 18 inches;
  3. Contains a gap of at least 12 inches between top two strands;
  4. Contains a smooth wire or rail for the top;
  5. Contains a smooth wire for the bottom; and
  6. Be visible for the safety of

Please note that our fencing will be hidden by a tree line and a hedge.

Will you be using Graton’s water?

No, we will not use Graton water. 100% of the water that we’ll use comes from Purple Wine & Spirits discharge pond. This pond provides us with 6 million gallons of recycled water per year; whereas all we need for our garden is 1 million gallons.

What will you do with the remaining 5 million gallons of water annually?

Remaining H20 will be used to irrigate the surrounding area, which will have the added benefit of contributing the fire safety on the land.

What about the pond and the ducklings? How will your project give space for the flooded area?

Our plans outline that all previous wetlands will be preserved and supported. The cultivation area leaves plenty of room (several hundred feet to be exact) for the pond and the ducklings. Our project footprint does not overlap with the wetland.

Preserving Beauty

Will there be any space between the trail and where your project starts? 

Yes! By law, we’re required to leave 100 ft, and by choice we’ve set it at 200 ft. Our plan is to plant indigenous, fire-safe trees starting roughly where the big pile of hay bales currently are. Everything-- our entire project, including our fence-- will be behind this tree line. The space between the trail and the tree line will be filled with wildflowers and other plants to support pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Some flyers that have been made about our project have mislead the community, making it seem like our project’s footprint takes up the majority of the 13-acre parcel upon which it is situated. A close look at our CUP reveals that this is inaccurate.

To illustrate this point, we’ve provided a side-by-side comparison of the idea that the fliers promote, versus the reality of our plans.

Here is our full site map as it was presented to the county, and is present in our CUP:

Jackalope Gardens Proposed Cannabis Operation in Graton

Do you have any architectural renderings and elevations of the site and proposed structures that you could share with the community?

We’re working on it and we will release this as soon as it is complete. We expect to have a completed rendering to share with you by mid-November.

Will the buildings be visible from the trail?

We are planning no structure taller than a single story house anywhere on the property. The greenhouses are ~10 feet tall, and our employee building is ~14 feet tall. All structures will be obscured from view by indigenous plants on the fences, and the new growth planned for nearly all 13 acres; these plants have been specifically selected for their ability to leech pesticides from the ground and their aesthetic charm.

Far into the field on the west side of the trail will be a new line of vegetative screening that will, from that distance, blend into the tree line that exists currently and trail users will not be able to distinguish anything in between. Yes, it will change the landscape view but not in an 'industrial' fashion. The aesthetic will change from a 'conventional farm use' field area, into a view full of diverse plants that will bio remediate and actually offer a clean and safe place for threatened and endangered pollinators, specifically the American Dotted Blues, Monarch Butterflies, and Bumblebees.

How tall is the tallest building?

The tallest building will be 14 ft and completely obscured by the tree line and/or hedges. We’re going to plant this vegetation immediately, so it will have a year (at minimum) to grow tall before the fence comes in.

Will all the greenhouse lights be on at night? Will it create light pollution in the area?

No, we will not create light pollution in the area. Any lights on after dark will be inside our greenhouses, which will be fully covered at night automatically. Since we do not operate at night, we won’t have any other operational light in use

Will your security lights prevent the community from enjoying the beautiful night sky?

No. No light emitted by any of Jackalope Gardens’ mixed-light greenhouses will be visible from any neighboring property between sunset and sunrise. Moreover, all light sources used in the production of cannabis in Jackalope Gardens’ mixed-light greenhouses will comply with International Dark Sky Association standards for Lighting Zone 0 and Lighting Zone 1 and will be designed to regulate light spillage onto neighboring properties resulting from backlight, up-light, or glare. Jackalope Gardens acknowledges and understands that all complaints regarding light spillage must be addressed within 10 working days of receiving written notification of such a violation.

We are committed to Dark-Sky Friendly Lighting Principles:

  • Minimal duration of illumination
    • Each light will be motion-controlled, and will only turn on in the event that a trespasser is on the property, and triggers that particular light
  • Minimal area of illumination
    • Fixtures will aim downward so no light is directed up, or to the sides, to prevent glare
    • Fixtures will be hooded, such that no light shines upwards
    • No unwanted light will fall onto adjacent property
    • No unwanted light will fall onto the creek (to minimize impact on marine environment)
  • Minimal cold wavelength illumination
    • We'll use bulbs on the warm end of the light spectrum, to reduce impact on the natural environment
  • Minimal amount of illumination
    • We'll use the minimum number of lights required by the state

Cars

Why so many parking spaces if you are going to be shuttling folks and carpooling? Can you make the parking lot smaller? And can you move it away from the trail?

YES! In the new version of our site plan, which we’ll release just as soon as it is done, we’ve cut our parking lot by over 50% and relocated it away from the trail. By the way, it’s a gravel lot,notconcrete.

Will employees be going to and from lunch every day on Railroad St.?

No. We’ll be providing family-style meals for our gardeners every day, so they won’t be coming and going during break hours.

What size trucks will be delivering supplies and how often (how many per day, week, month)?

Trucks will only be delivering supplies during the build-out phase. They will be flatbed trucks. We will schedule all of these deliveries in accordance with normal business hours, and with the feedback of the community.

Noise

What noise will be heard from the trail? What kind of daily noise can be expected? Obviously a tractor, but will there be forklifts, loud fans, leaf blowers, any other machinery?

We’ll have one small tractor (way smaller than the one currently parked on the land!) and that is it- no leaf blowers, no industrial fans. No other noise will be audible from the trail.

Will there be an event center that will attract more visitors? Will this be added later?

No, and no. At most, we’ll allow farmers from local permaculture schools to come and visit the garden, but that will be the extent of our “events.”

Enhancing Community Safety

Can you tell us anything more about security? I know this is a huge concern for many residents.

A study published earlier this year in the Economic Journal found that the legalization of marijuana is actually contributing to lower crime rates in the United States and Mexico. Crimes, including robberies, murders and aggravated assaults have all dropped by around 13 percent in areas close to medical marijuana states. The logic is that since people living in these legal jurisdictions are now allowed to cultivate and buy marijuana through legal channels, there is no need for them to engage in dangerous black market activity. Numerous studies show that the enhanced security presence that licensed cannabis operations brings to an area actually makes it safer.

We are not contesting the security threat that an unpermitted cannabis operation may pose. However, we respectfully point out that we are proposing a permitted cannabis operation, by contrast. The table below highlights the key differences between permitted and unpermitted cannabis in terms of security:

 

 

Law Enforcement

Firearms

Employees

Permitted Cannabis

Required by the State to report all security incidents to law enforcement

Banned from having firearms on-site by law. Cannot even hold a gun license.

All employees must pass rigorous background checks.

Unpermitted Cannabis

Cannot call on law enforcement in the event of security incidents

Frequently keep firearms onsite because they cannot call the police

No employee background checks.

 

For security reasons we cannot release our full security plan. However, we can tell you that we are required to take certain safety precautions, such as installing perimeter fencing. Since we are prohibited from publishing our official Security Plan in its entirety, we welcome you to continue asking us questions about safety as they arise. We would like to make clear that we willneverhave firearms on the premises; that all of our permanent and temporary employees will have to undergo and pass rigorous background checks pursuant to State law; and that we will immediately notify law enforcement of any perceived or actual threats to the area’s security.

 

Finally, we've made sure to take steps to mitigate the potential negative aesthetic effect of our physical security precautions. Our fence (which will start 200’ back from the trail) will be completely hidden by a tree line. Furthermore, we are ensuring that our security

lights are motion-activated, have as short of a triggered period as possible, and are angled away from all homes and have shielding to ensure dark sky conventions.

Essentially, unless someone is trespassing onto our property, the lights will not be activated. We heard some rumors about a guard tower-- this is absolutely false. Our CUP references a “guard station” which is simply what we’re calling the area where employees will use their credentials enter the facility.

Clarify whether or not there will be money stored on site - people know this is a cash business and how this attracts crime.

No - A licensed distributor will take possession of the cannabis after it is cured and processed. This transaction will take place in a secure location off-site. As we are not retailers, and will not be selling cannabis on-site. All of our security procedures, while confidential, will be reviewed by a third-party security professional prior to implementation.

Is there an option to offer enhanced security to the Railroad St. corridor or outfit neighbors with cameras or added security if desired?

Sure. This is something we’d be happy to provide for our neighbors on Railroad/Edison should they express the desire for this. Please reach out to us privately if you’re interested in discussing this.

[Note: We’d like to know what security precautions we could incorporate to make you feel safe. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us. We welcome them.]

Odors

Will you allow employees to smoke cigarettes on the property? There are a lot of non-smokers in this community and when someone does smoke it travels and can be smelled from far away. I believe this will be an issue for many residents and people using the trail. The whole time we have lived here it is very rare to smell cigarette smoke. Would you consider making the facility non-smoking?

We are extremely sympathetic to the fight against cigarettes and will enact a “no- smoking” policy on the farm. Not only is cigarette smoke harmful to humans, but it is harmful to the plants as well.

Is this garden going to make the entire area smell like cannabis?

No. We will grow CBD-rich strains, meaning that our plants don't release the typical "weed smell" that is emitted by THC-heavy plants. They mostly just smell like hay.

Moreover, outdoor cannabis gardens do not suffer from the issue of concentrated smell, due to the abundant airflow allowing for dispersion. The smell is only noticeable within 100 feet of the plants, and only during the plant’s flowering cycle. All of our setbacks are well over 100 feet from all sides, and therefore there will be no detectable smell.

Property Values

Will this project negatively impact my property values?

While all real estate has inherent risk and volatility, depending on location and the surrounding economics, so far we have seen property values in cannabis green zones only increase. As for neighboring properties to a cannabis operation, it is definitely too soon to give hard evidence. In an Agriculture-based community as Graton, we would expect any potential home or landowner to consider all aspects of living near a farm.

Here is an excerpt from an article about the impact of cannabis on real estate markets in Colorado:

Colorado's state law allows for counties to determine if they and how they want to legalize and regulate the drug. Areas where it’s legal attract more homebuyers, including marijuana users as well as entrepreneurs and job seekers. As more growers and retailers open up shop in these municipalities, the demand for workers rise. The influx of new residents inevitably leads to more home sales and higher rents. There are also plenty of people moving to pot-friendly states without intent to work for the industry, but rather to enjoy the bud of its labor.

Realtor.com reports the four states with at least a year of experience with recreational marijuana sales showed a marked increase in home prices — well above the national median price.

The data from Colorado provides some of the best insights on what happens to the housing market after recreational use is legalized because it has permitted its use the longest. Since the first shops started operations on January 1st, 2014, the median home sale price in the state has risen from $248,000 in the first half of 2014 to $298,000 in the first half of 2016 according to the realtor.com analysis. In jurisdictions where the drug can be purchased, the median sales price of homes in the second quarter of 2016 were a hit $305,200 while homes in areas where it is banned only went for $267,200.

Our “Plan B”

What happens, if for some reason this project gets rejected and you can’t grow cannabis here? Would you try to sell the land to someone else? Would the current pumpkin farmers continue farming there instead?

First of all we would be devastated, growing high CBD medical cannabis for patients who need it is our passion. We looked for a plot of land that we could afford for a long time and we have our heart set on growing the highest grade organic medical cannabis on this piece of land. However, if for some reason it does not work out to grow cannabis, then as of right now we would move to growing organic produce in greenhouses. We would estimate that we would end up having about 60 to 100 greenhouses total. These greenhouses would be on both sides of the trail, in the field at the end of Edison as well as the field on the creek side. We would maximize the number of greenhouses we can have as we would need to try to best mitigate our financial losses on this property. When growing cannabis, it requires much less land and impact to get a return on your investment than it does when growing produce.

If our CUP is denied, we won’t be able to sell the land for what we paid for it, and we would remain here and farm the land to the best of our ability. This is not something that would go through a use permit process or that would require getting input from the

neighbors or any additional permits, it is currently allowable on agricultural land for our property.

This “Plan B” is absolutely not our preference. Although we would still cultivate in the most respectful and responsible way possible given the situation, our ability to steward the land in accordance with the highest standards would be severely diminished. We feel that it is important to be transparent and open about this.

What would these greenhouses look like? Can you show us a visual example of one?

We assume that they’d look like our cannabis greenhouses, and would cover the majority of our properties on both sides of the trail. This would be over 20 acres of greenhouses alone. By contrast, our currentcultivation footprint (all cannabis greenhouses + outdoor grow area) is less than 2 acres, all concentrated in the middle of the field, and hidden behind the tree line. Our entire project footprint is under 3 acres.

How would doing the greenhouses for produce impact traffic on Edison and Railroad street in comparison to the Cannabis farm? How many employees would you have for the produce farm versus the cannabis farm?

Growing produce requires a lot more space and labor than growing cannabis, so we would expect significantly more traffic and more employees along Edison as well as Railroad than if we were growing cannabis.

What are setbacks for growing produce/having greenhouses versus growing cannabis?

Again, we haven’t pulled specific info yet. We’re not interested in pursuing this option and don’t want to put energy towards it at this time. We know that the regulatory oversight for non-cannabis agriculture is minimal. We welcome any info you have on this topic.

Future Plans

You state your plan is based on organic practices and various other limitations, but does the CUP require those practices remain in case another future operation takes over? As we know, use permits run with the land, and even if you have a good operator now, in the future some less-than-ideal entity could purchase it and pollute the creek or grow weed that's not CBD or any number of other things that Community is concerned about.

This is a really good question. A new operator would not be able to come in and violate the terms of the current CUP. If a new operator wanted to change the terms of the existing CUP, they would have to go through a formal process with the County.

Will you be building other facilities?

No.

Who Are You People?

Cheryl Buck and Jack Buck

Cheryl Buck owns the land upon which this project is proposed and Jack Buck is her son. Jack and Cheryl are advocates for medical cannabis, which is why they are pursuing this project. Jack is the one who assembled the rest of the team, and is funding the project using his life savings. He’s passionate about medical cannabis and is eager to make medicine accessible to patients in California. Before working in cannabis, he attended culinary school.

Freeman, Jack and Cheryl on the land in Graton.

Here is a brief piece written by Cheryl regarding medical cannabis:

In September 1969, I returned to college and heard from some of the boys in the dorm next to mine about their time at the Woodstock Music Festival that was held in upstate New York that summer. Instead of drinking beer and playing pool like we did during our Freshman year, I remember sitting in a circle and passing a joint around. Very quickly, I excused myself from those circles because the marijuana made me sleepy. Haha! I wish that I had remembered that 20 years later when sleeping had become an issue for me!

For the past 80 years, people, including children, have been needlessly suffering because they have been denied the use of a natural substance that had previously been available as an over-the-counter medication for decades before that.

Cannabis is one of the most healing plants on earth. Some of the health benefits from this plant are the relief of chronic pain from headaches, arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome; the quelling of pediatric epileptic seizures and relief from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, anxiety and PTSD. 

People also find relief from symptoms related to Autoimmune Disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis. Cannabis has compounds that are used as effective anti-inflammatory (inflammation being found at the root of all chronic disease), anti-depressant and anti-nausea medications. Cannabis has been shown to stop cancer cells from spreading and can block the formation of new blood vessels to a cancer tumor. And don’t forget, an effective sedative!

The science is out there and available. About 20-30 years ago, scientists discovered our endocannabinoid system. This system regulates memory, digestion, motor function, immune response, inflammation, appetite, pain, blood pressure, bone growth and the protection of neural tissues.

With the discovery of this internal system, scientists discovered that cells throughout our bodies have receptor sites for the compounds in the cannabis plant. This is an indication that we have evolved to be receptive to the healing compounds in this amazing plant. 

The truth about cannabis has been hidden from us in the U.S. since 1937 as the result of a government-led DISinformation campaign. Previous to 1937, cannabis medicine had been prescribed by doctors and sold over-the-counter in pharmacies throughout the

U.S. The politics of cannabis are complex yet the scientifically-proven, vetted, published and peer-reviewed research includes over 100 proven therapeutic actions of this plant. We need to be educated.

Does this make you wonder if the people who are attacking the emerging cannabis industry, most notably the small farms, might be tilting at windmills? 

Freeman Young

A second-generation Sonoma County gardener with his own collection of proprietary strains, Freeman Young is a father, grandfather, farmer and herbalist with over forty years of cannabis cultivation experience. Freeman’s mission is to heal the land, and nurture the growth of clean, effective medicine. He looks forward to using regenerative farming and sustainable grow practices.

Andrea Unsworth

Andrea Unsworth is a dedicated patient advocate and entrepreneur with a background as a former bond analyst for Moodys. Her delivery-only dispensary StashTwist delivered to over 1,500 medical cannabis patients in the Bay Area for 3 years, resulting in significant press coverage which included a 2017 appearance on the CNBC show “The Profit”. In 2015, Andrea co-founded Supernova Women, an organization committed to the support and empowerment of people of color pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities in the cannabis industry. In 2018, Andrea founded Tulip & Oak Consulting to help entrepreneurs through the development of compliant, sustainable cannabis businesses. She has a B.A. from UCLA in Political Science and Sociology, and an MBA with a focus on Company Finance from USC. Andrea lives in the Bay Area with her three young children and partner.

Hadas Alterman

Hadas Alterman entered the cannabis industry after graduating from UC Berkeley’s School of Law, and for two years has provided regulatory and compliance guidance to growers seeking cannabis licensing. With a background as an activist and community organizer, Hadas possesses a boundless determination to nurture the growth of a diverse and compassionate cannabis industry. Hadas holds a B.A. in Community Studies/Agriculture, Food & Social Justice, with Honors from UC Santa Cruz, and a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law.

Who will be running day to day operations and who will be the point of contact for the community?

Freeman will be running day-to-day operations in the garden. Hadas will be (and currently is) the point of contact for the community.

Are you related to Jack Buck from Chicago who runs Free Market Ventures?

 Nope! “Jack Buck” is a pretty common name, so we understand the mix up. We don’t have any hedge fund money from big investors. Jack is using his life savings on building this garden -- which has been his dream for a long time. We don’t have any investors and we are not looking for any. Ownership of Jackalope will be divided amongst our team, and eventually, our employees as well. To be clear, Jack Buck intends to maintain majority ownership.

Some think you are connected to “Big Pharma” and are just a front for them. Are you connected to Big Pharma and will your products be used by Big Pharma?

Nope! Without getting too negative, we *strongly dislike* Big Pharma. Several of us have been studying and advocating for all kinds of plant medicine for a long time, and we have absolutely no interest in making products to fuel the pharmaceutical industry.

Do you plan to move to Graton?

Yes!! Some of us have our sights set on moving to West Sonoma County; all of us are either California natives or lived here for over 20 years. Some of us have even lived here in the past. A few folks know that Freeman, our Lead Gardener, designed and planted a huge spiral garden for a homeowner on Edison street a few years back.

Where did you get the name Loud Enterprises?

The name “Loud” is a hip hop reference to cannabis. In hindsight, we totally understand that it sounds scary in the context of a small, quiet village. It was chosen pretty arbitrarily during the initial incorporation process, and was never going to be the name of our actual project, which is called Jackalope Gardens.

Communication

Someone from the community had reached out to you but had not heard back. Not sure if this is true, but it sounds like the folks on Railroad were still waiting to hear back from you. Is this true?

The first communication we received from anyone in the neighborhood was written on October 1st and delivered to us on October 8th. The letter included numerous questions that required further information-gathering on our part. Within a week, before we were able to locate all of the necessary information to draft and send a response, community members began distributing fliers about our project and discussing it on NextDoor. We began attempting to make contact immediately thereafter. We’ve made repeated attempts to meet with this individual, who has not yet made time to meet with us. We are waiting to hear back from anybody on Railroad Street who is willing to talk to us; we’re eager to begin a dialogue with you.

Unfortunately, we did not get in touch with our neighbors as quickly as they would have liked, as we were still gathering information. We know that we’ve (unintentionally) caused them a lot of pain and anger, and we fully own that and are sorry. We hope to sit down with them soon and make amends. We’re open to whatever reconciliation processes they may need to feel comfortable meeting and talking with us. We’ve been in touch with Restorative Justice facilitators and we’re approaching this upcoming conversation with the Railroad folks as an opportunity to make peace. Again, we’re always available and happy to chat. Please reach out to Hadas@JackalopeGardens.comwith questions.

Why didn’t you put all of this information in your CUP in the first place?

The information the community needs is not always the same as the information that the County requests. Our CUP was written to directly address the questions of Permit Sonoma and nothing else. Much of information included herein is included in the CUP, albeit less in-depth. As you can tell by this roughly 20 page document, this would have been a lot of extra detail to include for the County.

Why didn’t you talk to us earlier on in the process?

We had no idea that our CUP would be released to the public; we have documentation showing that we’d planned to present all of this information to the community as soon as we’d submitted the CUP. We are about one year and a half away from our Public Hearing. We figured that this gave us plenty of time to introduce ourselves and present our plan.[All explanations aside, we wish we had been able to present this information to you ahead of time, to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and incorporate your feedback earlier in the process. We sincerely apologize for all of the misinformation that was able to proliferate in the absence of more detailed facts regarding our garden.]

Why did you last-minute cancel your planned “Meet and Greet” on the trail last Saturday?

Once we caught wind that this event could potentially be conflictual and chaotic, we decided to cancel it. We wanted to have a civil and constructive conversation with the community, and we were concerned that the meeting was going to turn into a shouting match where it would be hard to clearly hear one another. We are always happy to engage in respectful dialogue, especially with people who may not share our views or values. However, we realized that tensions were running very high that day and honesty we were caught quite off guard by the intensity of it. Emotional and physical safety is very important to us and we did not feel prepared for that level of conflict and tension that we felt was happening. We wanted to have time to gather all the facts of the project first so we could address community concerns in a more calm and clear way.

Will there be another opportunity to meet with you all? 

Absolutely! We’re currently gathering feedback from the community to discern what type of event would be of service. Until then, Hadas is available to meet in Graton, any day of the week. She’d love to take you on a walk around the land and answer all of your questions. You can reach her at Hadas@JackalopeGardens.com.

Community Benefits

How will your presence benefit the community?

We will bioremediate the soil on our land, which is full of toxins that are currently adversely impacting the surrounding area and its

We will plant indigenous plants to support the lives of pollinators, such as bees and

We will make the upper field (the field on the other side of the trail at the end of Edison St.) available for community use. Some of our ideas at the moment include a community garden, a park for children made out of natural materials instead of plastic and metals, and a space for skill

Please note that all of our projects on the upper field will be embarked upon with input from the Edison neighbors. If you would like to join in on this conversation, please email Hadas@JackalopeGardens.com.

We will offer permaculture classes to the community

We will also allocate a portion of our annual budget to support local non-profit organizations. We’re currently looking for folks to talk to about this, so if you have thoughts on what, specifically, in Graton, could use some funding, please email Hadas at Hadas@JackalopeGardens.com.

 

Trust

Why should we believe anything you say? How do we know you’re not just greenwashing? Or flat out lying to appease us?

We understand that you might not trust us right now, and we understand why. We’re not asking you to give us your trust, but we are asking for the opportunity to earn it. There are several ways this can happen; from one-on-one conversations to community meetings. We will hold space for whatever processes need to occur in order for all of us to move forward in a good way, regardless of outcome.

For those of you who want a more formal commitment, we’re willing to sign a document attesting to the information included herein. We will cover legal fees associated with this endeavor.

In today’s world, facts matter more than ever. We’re committed to transparency in this process. We look forward to continuing this dialogue and being a good neighbor to all of you.

You’re always welcome to email Hadas, the Community Liaison, at Hadas@JackalopeGardens.com.



“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” ― Arundhati Roy

Comments:

Nov 18, 2018
Just curious. How did you pick the name "Jackalope Gardens?" Jackalope is a very nice, high-end THC strain. Do you have other places where you grow Jackalope? Do you plan to grow any here?
- Carol Benfell
Nov 18, 2018
Remember that who an applicant is is irrelevant in that use permits run with the land no matter who owns it. The actual submitted plans and the associated issues are what one wants to address on any project, especially in this case and with this industry. Google anything about the cannabis industry in Oregon for example. They can't give it away. As cannabis prices per pound approach zero, which is where they are heading, many areas will be left with empty facilities covering up agricultural land forever.
- Cary Fargo
Nov 19, 2018
As a neighbor on Railroad St., I'd like to point out that the plan posted above is not the plan that was submitted to the permit bureau and therefore irrelevant. As the original plan is currently going through the permit process, I think it's important that we discuss the plan submitted and not PR pieces that don't address the very real problems with this very large commercial cannabis operation The plan submitted calls for 30 parking spaces, a 3000 sq.ft processing/storage building, a 2050 sq.ft office/employee bathroom/break area, a security building, 18 1248 sq. greenhouses, 12 water storage tanks, 8 ft security fences. I'm guessing a security fence cannot be wildlife friendly!! And then the outdoor grow!! Please look up permit UPC 18-OO44 which as of Fri. Nov. 16th was still active. All of the above to be alongside the heavily used West County Trail and a few feet away from a residential neighborhood. In other words, very inappropriate land use. I would have no problem with this project were it in an industrial zone that already has security fences, buildings and proper road access. Railroad St. is a single lane with no turnouts- garbage trucks and maintenance vehicles back out. A few years ago a driver took out 20-30 feet of our fence!! 30 parking places indicates that traffic is expected at some point regardless of what Jackelope says. The permit states 16 employees. Until Jackelope submits new or revised plans, we can only go by information that is stated on their permit application. Many of us neighbors have looked carefully through the information submitted and come to the conclusion that this project does not belong in a residential neighborhood or beside a recreational trail. Again it's a matter of appropriate land use . Bridget Beytagh
- bridget beytagh
Nov 19, 2018
Where did these questions come from? We have not framed a single one that is included in the Q & A. It appears that these questions were designed to spread information that the applicant wanted to be made public. That's great that the applicants have such high ideals of growing a permaculture cannabis garden. We have addressed our questions to the County planner, as he is the one to determine the feasibility of the proposal with the County regulations, zoning and ordinances, not the applicants. Our neighborhood of Railroad Street residents is unanimously opposed to this project on this site at the end of Railroad Street. How nice, or organic, or biodynamic or medical cannabis- inclined the applicants are is great to know, but irrelevant to our objections to the scale and location of such an enterprise. The Use Permit stays with the land and we are addressing the potential impacts of the project, not the applicants or their associates and attorneys.
- Anna Ransome
Nov 23, 2018
Dear Readers, The only thing pertinent to this project is the application on file with the county. If county approves this project as submitted or revised, that is the only binding obligation the applicants have to follow, no matter what they say they are willing to do for the community. There is no legal entity in Graton (an unincorporated town) for them to make a binding contract with. The application UPC 18-0044 on file and the applicant’s new drawing shown at the beginning of this article are for a permit to build 5050 SF of buildings and 22,464 SF of greenhouses, which is a total of 27,514 SF of agricultural land converted to permanent structures. From my understanding, the area permitted for these structures will permanently remain with the land from owner to owner. Once these structures are permitted, that much more DA land is out of cultivation forever. The only thing I can see in their revised permit drawing is eliminating the 30-car parking lot. This results in an approximately 300-foot setback from the West Sonoma County Trail boundary to their 8 foot high Security Fencing. They have not really increased the setback to their building site at all. Approximately 300-feet from the trail boundary their proposed native plant vegetation screen goes all the way across the field N-S completely obscuring one of the most loved parts of the West Sonoma County trail
-a view of the vernal pond where birds spend the winter and spring and raise their young. According to code they must conceal all of their 8-foot high security fencing with a vegetation screen. Why are they not wrapping this screening around the immediate south perimeter of their fencing instead of using it to block this beautiful view from the trail? Are these 28 pages of PR an effort to gain support from those who buy into the dream presented vs. the reality of what the owners will be required to do by law if they gain their permit? Talk is cheap. Only what the county permits is binding. They could let the rest of the land go to weeds. The permit will go with the land to the next owner if they sell the land, for better or for worse. If you care to know more about their UPC 18-0044 permit application go to https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A24ee04ba-59a1-4c19-b2bc-8a867bee1dc8 and https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A3df39599-7c1d-4f88-8f49-d09e1518dc01 You can summit commentary on it to the county project manager. Scott Davidson scottd@mig.com cc Lynda Hopkins Lynda.Hopkins@sonoma-county.org Get involved. The next cannabis project may be in your neighborhood. Would you like to wake up each day and face this project or something similar 150 feet from your house with all of its noise, smell and visual blight? Currently the Cannabis Ordinance defines our trails as Transportation Corridors with 100-feet setbacks from cannabis projects. Would you and your family enjoy or feel safe with cannabis projects 100 feet from the edge of the Joe Rodota or West Sonoma County Trails? Any DA parcel of 10 acres or more is a potential site. Our trails can be protected as Parks with a 1000-foot setback from cannabis projects if we email our supervisors before their 12/11 meeting expressing our support for this needed change in the ordinance. Your emails, presence and voice make a difference in county policy. Attend the next Board of Supervisors meeting on Dec 11 at 9 AM where this will be on the agenda. Send your comments to the Supervisors and cc Tim Ricard of the Cannabis Advisory Group Subject Line: Our Trails Should Be Parks Address your email to Lynda.Hopkins@sonoma-county.org David.Rabbitt@sonoma-county.org James.Gore@sonoma-county.org Susan.Gorin@sonoma-county.org Shirlee.Zane@sonoma-county.org Tim-Ricard@sonoma-county.org Marcy Meadows, A concerned 24-year Graton homeowner and trail user who voted for the legalization of Cannabis
- Marcy Meadows
Nov 26, 2018
There is some misunderstanding about how the Use Permit application process works with the County of Sonoma. When an application is submitted to Permit Sonoma, the assigned planner reviews the proposal and the drawings. If it is something that could be controversial because of scale or incompatibility, the planner may send out an Early Letter Public Notification to neighbors informing them that an application has been submitted. The application is then put into a file, which is accessible to the public at the File Desk at Permit Sonoma. Copies can be made of the file, with the exception of some items, like security designs for cannabis applications. If the plan is digitized, the planner will send you the file electronically on request. Often, before submitting plans, applicants will meet with the supervisor of the district to “feel out” their reaction, or with neighbors, or with Permit Sonoma. Not all consultants, especially those from other counties or states, are familiar with the labyrinth of zoning law, the General Plan, the Municipal Code or other regulations, like the agricultural rules that are administered by the county Agricultural Commission. It is advisable to make inquiries prior to submission of plans, because you can make alterations in response to feedback. The proposal is then sent out to responsible agencies for comment. This period has varying lengths, depending on the project. This is a legal requirement under California planning law. There are many opportunities for the public to make comment. They can read the application and then send their questions/opinions to the planner. They can also write or visit their supervisor. One can make comment to the agencies who are sent the referral with any questions or concerns. After reviewing the proposed project, the planner usually has questions or comments for the applicants. This can take the form of an “Incomplete Letter,” which asks for further information on aspects of the project or brings up issues that neighbors have raised. The applicants may then meet with the planner to discuss their options. Once the application is deemed complete, the planner then makes a “staff recommendation” base on his analysis of the project's appropriateness, compatibility with the General Plan, zoning and other codes. If/when the planner considers the application complete, he/she will post the scheduling of a Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing at least two weeks prior. The planner develops a “staff report” base on the total analysis of the project's appropriateness to the codes. The public and agencies can submit support, opposition or questions about the project before the hearing to the commission or any member of the public can speak at the hearing. If you wish to speak, you fill out a card at the hearing room and then wait to be called on after the presentation by staff and applicants. The staff recommendation is not always followed by the board. The purpose of the hearing is to hear public opinion on the project. The PC then decides whether to continue the issue, if they feel the project requires more study or if there are too many unanswered questions. The majority vote decides if the project is allowed or denied. Usually commissioners will explain their vote. That decision may be appealed by anyone to the Board of Supervisors. There are fees for appealing and there is a time limit. If appealed, a new hearing (hearing de novo) will be scheduled before the Board of Supervisors. The vote at that hearing is final and there is no County appeal available. Some projects are appealed to the courts if the hearing body or the County do not follow the rules or do an improper analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
- Anna Ransome

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