Sunday, December 8, 2013/lk
RIVERSIDE Marijuana business license applications continue to pour in to the state Liquor Control Board, and potential entrepreneurs in Okanogan County are cautiously optimistic.
“I have to say, this is all very scary. It’s new,” Green Veteran owner James Tincher said. “We’re basically breaking ground, like pioneers.
“It’s just something that’s been a lifetime thing for me. It’s always been one of my goals to be able to do something like that legally.”
He has applied for a producer license with the hope of eventually growing medicinal and recreational marijuana under a canopy of up to 2,000 square feet on his property, 3 Blue Moon Road.
“There’s a lot of people out there who need help. This stuff really helps,” he said, noting that it can boost a sick person’s appetite or help those with eye problems.
The state Liquor Control Board will likely consider recommendations for medical marijuana guidelines after Jan. 1. For now, residents and businesses are applying to grow, process and sell it for recreational purposes.
The state announced Friday it is extending the deadline for recreational marijuana business license applications to 5 p.m. Dec. 20.
Another potential Riverside-area producer, Fernando Dietsch of Walla Walla, also has plans to produce and process medicinal marijuana if the state allows it.
His company, Majebacilon, is new, much like the majority of those who have filed for licenses. Dietsch said he hopes to hear in late January or early February if he will receive his producer and processor licenses.
A friend offered Dietsch a parcel of farmland at 137 Greenacres Road. He plans to cultivate an outdoor crop there, but couldn’t say specifically what kind of crop he would grow or how much. That depends on what the state permits him to do, he said.
“After talking to my friend who owns property out there, he explained to me that Okanogan County is probably the one in most need of tax revenue,” he said. “And I chose wisely.”
The most appealing thing about the property he’s looking at is there are no homes, parks, schools or hospitals nearby.
Of the total 45 applications filed for marijuana businesses in Okanogan, Douglas and Okanogan counties as of Tuesday, Tonasket has the most with 12.
Mayor Patrick Plumb said he supports the will of Okanogan County voters to permit marijuana, and the city doesn’t require business licenses.
“Tonasket won’t step in the way of anybody opening a business … as long as it complies with whether it’s in a commercial or industrial area for retail business,” he said. “I look forward to working with whoever to help them be the most lawful and legal that they can and have as much success as they can.
“God bless them for risking their money here. Anything that’s a business storefront that can have business will benefit Tonasket, so I’m pretty excited to see that they’re continuing to move forward on that.”
Tonasket also has the only listed retailer application in Okanogan County – Green Valley Living, owned by Tracy Stevens.
He has also applied for a processor license under Green Valley Processing.
Stevens said he hopes to make some money and contribute to the local economy. He didn’t return subsequent calls for a promised interview.
The potential retailer’s address is listed as 50 Frontage Road, which Plumb said is on the south end of town.
There are other locations along Tonasket’s retail corridor that would be suitable for a marijuana seller, and a few parcels within city limits could even serve as sites for growing and processing if they go up for sale, Plumb said.
“My preference would be for them to be in a place where they can maximize their business capabilities,” he said, adding that he’d rather see the businesses in visible locations where the city can help keep an eye on things.
Security is a key component under the new law. Applicants already are making plans to for security.
“I do not anticipate any increased criminal activity, because the security system I’ll be putting out will be very effective in deterring anyone from creating any problems,” Dietsch said, adding that he will work only with legal dispensaries. Tincher said he will follow state law to the letter if he receives a license.
“We’re not into the cartel or anything like that. We are Americans and we will stay Americans forever,” he said.
His crop would be grown in two greenhouses. Tincher already has one, a 25-foot by 10-foot greenhouse where he grows vegetables. He plans to build the other one.
His home, he said, is off the beaten path on the north side of Tunk Mountain, off of an unmaintained road and out of any zoning jurisdictions.
“We’re completely off the grid up here,” he said.
He said it’s easier to grow in a greenhouse on the mountain “because we have harsher elements than everyone down in the valley.”
Tincher’s partner, Valorie Bameron, said their closest neighbor is about three-quarters of a mile away, “and the traffic is very thin.”
For security, they have game cameras that can record up to 4,000 minutes of video at various locations on their property, and they plan to build a 10-foot privacy fence.
The fence is “green,” allowing up to 95 percent of UV rays to reach the plants, she said.
“The most important thing is we want to be legal … and we hope that we can help some people,” Tincher said. “We’re not looking to be rich, we’re just looking to be able to run a small business with it.”
He hopes more retailers will step up, but acknowledged that not many people are willing to put up the money for such an unknown venture, at least not right off the bat.