By Deb Murphy
No real surprise – Inyo County Board of Supervisors approved both the first two retail cannabis licenses and the $8,850 annual license fee at Tuesday’s meeting.
PALS Associates, Inc. and Simply Green, both located in the Bishop area, got the green light.
Nobody suffered cardiac arrest at the license fee, which is more than reasonable in light of other California county fees, like San Luis Obispo’s $22,000. According to Inyo/Mono Ag Commissioner Nate Reade, the high end fees top out at $90,000.
Since the license fee runs from June 30 through July 1 of the following year, Reade explained these first licensees will pay a pro-rated fee based on the number of months left in the annual cycle.
As Supervisor Matt Kingsley said at the end of the public hearings, “this is sort of anti-climactic.”
But, the fun part of the series of public hearings was learning all about the reproductive activity of cannabis/hemp plants. That info came out during the discussion on restricting industrial hemp growers to indoors to protect nearby cannabis operations. Cross-pollination spells doom for both varieties.
Hemp growers’ primary concern focused on the lower value of hemp compared to potent cannabis. With a potential price tag between $30 and $50 a pound, the financial burden of building greenhouses would be untenable.
According to comments made by both hemp and cannabis growers, they’re already dealing with pollination issues. Male plants are generally trashed in preference for the females. So all pollination is avoided. According to Chuck Kaiser, growers want all female plants and no seeds.
Cannabis grower Nathan Lund explained away the danger of hermaphrodites, a rare occurrence that only happens when the plant is under stress. Feminized seeds are available and the gender of plants can be determined once the first leaf sprouts, just in case pollen has invaded the premises, he said.
“We all work together,” Lund said in reference to cannabis and hemp growers In Nevada, he said, hemp operations need permission from cannabis growers within a five mile radius.
Kingsley was still a little skeptical. “You all get along now,” he said. “But, we have to be careful.”
Reade suggested the ordinance be amended to remove the requirement for indoor grows while still leaving the section on pollen control. The Supervisors approved the changes.