No charges to be filed against Nevada City cannabis business |

No charges to be filed against Nevada City cannabis business

Last fall, two cannabis businesses seeking permits to operate in Nevada City ran afoul of local law enforcement, putting their efforts to get legit in jeopardy.

One of those business is now in the clear, while a partner in the other faces a criminal charge in Nevada County Superior Court.

No charges will be filed against Laurel and Max Gladish, who own Highest Health Collective Enterprises with Daniel Carter. The manufacturing company received the OK for a permit in July 2018, then submitted an application for a distribution arm under the name Nevada City Trading Company.

That application, and the status of their current permit, was thrown into limbo after the company was linked to a suspected honey oil lab in September.

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force served a search warrant on a property on Tracy Drive and discovered a complete set-up for a methanol distillation lab. Detectives allegedly found items linked to Highest Health Collective Enterprises, detectives said at the time.

This week, Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Ed Grubaugh said he will not file charges in the case.

“At the conclusion of the investigation, we were unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Maxwell and Laurel Gladish had committed a crime,” Grubaugh said.

Laurel Gladish expressed relief the criminal investigation has been closed, saying, “Coming into the legal marketplace has been one of the hardest things we have ever done. The transition is not for the faint of heart.”

“We hope that we can continue to work with Nevada City government to create a clear path forward, where applicants are not targeted and spotlighted as they work to do the right thing by coming into the legal cannabis market,” she said. “HHCo is committed to operating a professional, responsible company that is environmentally friendly and gives back to the community.”

Stephen Munkelt, the attorney for Max and Laurel Gladish, noted the Nevada City Police Department had asked the city council for permission to strengthen its background checks as part of the permit process and potentially deny permits based on past marijuana-related convictions or investigations.

“To deny permits based on a suspicion (of illegal activity) is inconsistent with the whole point of legalization,” Munkelt said.

Sky Farms principal facing felony charge

The news was less positive for Todd and Alaina Dougherty, who were arrested by county narcotics detectives in October on drug manufacturing charges.

Todd Dougherty and partner Jason Gilbert had applied for a medical cannabis business permit and received approval from the Nevada City Planning Commission. Their business, Sky Farms, has not completed its conditions of approval and has not yet been issued a permit.

The Doughertys’ residence in the 18000 block of Connie Drive in Alta Sierra was searched and a sophisticated, illegal cannabis oil alcohol distillation lab was reportedly located. Detectives also allegedly found approximately 10 pounds of finished cannabis oil, envelopes with a company name used to package the cannabis oil, and several hundred small envelopes containing cannabis oil.

The District Attorney’s Office has filed a criminal complaint against Todd Dougherty, Grubaugh confirmed this week. Todd Dougherty is facing one felony count of illegally manufacturing hash oil and is set for arraignment on April 14.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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