Help us help you: Farm to Market cannabis business event encourages networking, permit acquisition
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When Nevada County was opening itself to legal cannabis farming, Abraham Valensky was intrigued.
He wanted to know everything about the process of getting permitted and the nuanced county ordinances, in addition to regulations set by the state’s water resources control board. In being forthcoming, he said he was able “to come out of the shadows.”
Valensky’s business — Green Hummingbird Farms — was permitted in July, he said.
The business owner was speaking at a three-hour cannabis networking event, hosted Thursday night by the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance at The Foothills Event Center. The space included people from across the spectrum of the cannabis world, including manufacturers, distributors, farmers and retailers. About 14 cannabis business booths sat outside the center, allowing people to schmooze and network. One patron described the atmosphere as a “farmers market.”
Inside the center, the event was broken into parts, including a question-and-answer period with a representative from the Nevada County Cannabis Compliance Division and panel discussion with licensed farmers.
The former was meant to help “people who are looking to transition” become a permitted commercial farm, said Nevada County Cannabis Alliance Executive Director Diana Gamzon. Gamzon was excited to allow space for farmers to network and connect with others in the industry.
A cannabis compliance officer with the county, Thomas Maioli, was happy to inform people about the permitting process, noting that his department is “extremely approachable.”
“Our goal is to get you permitted,” he said. “We just want to talk.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Maioli said the process time for acquiring a cannabis farming permit can vary, but the county hopes to complete them in about two and a half months.
There are 78 permit applications the county is reviewing, he said. The majority of those (62) are administrative permits, costing about $1,970 and can include up to 10,000 square feet of land. The rest are commercial cannabis permits, costing about $1,597 and are up to 2,500 square feet. The annual permit cost is about $1,000.
Thirteen farms have been permitted in the county, said Maioli, adding that the county is trying to streamline the application process by having more agricultural exemptions.
“County staff are currently reviewing the existing (agricultural-exemption) permitting process,” he said. “The intent is to provide a submittal process that offers clarification and consistency, while identifying what is appropriate to proposing agricultural exemption.”
At the event, Maioli tried to answer any questions farmers had, and personally spoke with them about their inquiries after the question-and-answer period.
“The people here tonight are people of the community,” he said.
Valensky, the owner of Green Hummingbird Farms, also tried to advise farmers through the permitting process.
He encouraged people to do as he did — be proactive with the county. If there are any violations on your farm, he said, be forthcoming and talk with someone from the cannabis compliance division.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4219.
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