Nevada County Cup offers education, art, business of marijuana industry | TheUnion.com

Nevada County Cup offers education, art, business of marijuana industry

A hazy sun hung Sunday afternoon over the Nevada County Cup as a DJ pumped music through the air.

AC Moon, standing next to her patented invention, knows the weather in Nevada County won't always bring warm, sunny days. It's one factor that led her to create Crop Tops — portable, urban greenhouses.

"It's really up and down if we're going to have nice weather, bad weather," Moon said.

A Grass Valley resident, Moon said her invention can protect cannabis and other plants from frost and freeze. Flaps secured with Velcro can open, eliminating condensation. She emphasized that the center pole stuck in a large grow container underneath the Crop Top is sturdy, fixed and recyclable.

Moon was one of about 300 people who attended the two-day event at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Grass Valley. DJs mixed music in the courtyard while inside people browsed booths offering art, lighting and insurance.

JJ Pay, president of S2S Insurance, has an office in West Sacramento but is planning on opening another location in Nevada City. He's seen many local residents approach him about insurance and opted to open a new office here by summer.

Pay's business offers growers insurance for what he calls "seed to sale." It also helps growers through the process of obtaining the necessary permits.

"And here's our big kicker: law enforcement — reimbursement for raids," Pay said of one insurance offered.

Attendees browsed the booths at the Nevada County Cup, occasionally pausing to ask a question or peruse some art.

Evan Moore, an art director from Humboldt County, said he wanted to showcase local, state and international artists at his booth. His own photography focuses on the trichome, small outgrowths, on the plant.

Moore said he got into photography after reading "The Cannabible," called a reference guide to marijuana. He wants to use his art to fight what he said was 50 years of misinformation about the plant.

"I wanted to combat that by showing how beautiful the plant is up close," Moore said. "I have sold more pieces here than probably the last three shows put together."

The cup's organizers said education was a key component of the event. Afternoon panels focused on state and local licensing, local cannabis politics and current law.

"Nevada County has, essentially, a ban," said Nevada City attorney Stephen Munkelt, one panelist. "Every resident is allowed to grow up to six plants. The county cannot prohibit those now state-authorized activities."

The county's existing grow ordinance restricts grows by zoning and acreage size. County officials recently hired a facilitator to help them craft new grow regulations, expected to take several months.

Fielding one question, panelist and attorney Jennifer Granger noted that no commercial grow licenses exist in California. They won't exist until January. State regulators currently are working to create the framework that will allow the issuance of such licenses.

Philip Northcutt, the event's organizer, said he wanted the Nevada County Cup to attract attendees interested in educating themselves and building relationships.

Northcutt lost money on this year's cup, calling it an investment. He anticipates turning a profit in the event's third year.

"At the end of it, we'll start making plans for next year," he said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.