Historic Day: Meet the Applicants for the First Medical Marijuana Business Permits


A county employee (left) joins Rain on the Earth (in red), her nephew Mark Switzee (in black) and her great-nephew Myles Moscato for a historic photo after the family applied for the first ever medical marijuana business permits issued for unincorporated areas of Humboldt County today. [Photo provided by Mark Switzee]

From cannabis activists to county supervisors, everyone agrees that today was historic. It’s been a long journey from Humboldt County’s first arrest in 1960 for growing marijuana to today’s first application for a medical marijuana business permit in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Myles Moscato, Mark Swizee and Rain on the Earth, all members of the same family, were the first to apply. “We’re developing whole flower tinctures,” explained Mark Swizee. (See one of their business logos below.) Emerald Tincture Company seeks to work with CBD, a cannabis compound that is believed to have promising medicinal benefits.

The three said they were at the doors before the Humboldt County Planning Office opened because they wanted bragging rights. “It’s the first application for the first legal thing in California,” enthused Mark Swizee.


Take a look at the logo of one of the first applicants for Humboldt County’s historic new permits.

Steve Lazar, Senior Planner for the Humboldt County Planning Department wasn’t quite sure if theirs was the first application in the state. But, he said, “It certainly was as far as the counties locally.”


Another photo of the historic group provided by Luke Bruner of California Cannabis Voice Humboldt.

Lazar said that today’s application was a beginning. “What we’re doing right now is getting people into the process,” he explained. “Five minutes at the counter…scheduling a meeting to get a more personalized review of their proposal.” Over the next five weeks, Lazar said, staff will be meeting with applicants individually to help them get their proposals together. “We’re there to help people to understand what were looking for,” he explained.

As of 11:30 a.m., there were 14 applications. “I expect that number to grow by the end of the day,” Lazar said.

Swizee said that he and his family are excited to be part of the new process. He’s not worried about legal repercussions from the federal government, ” Have you looked at Google Earth lately?” he asked referring to the numerous, large black market marijuana grows. “There has to be some regulation on this or its just totally out of control. It’s good to see the county want to work with people on this.”

He does worry about the paperwork though. “My one concern is that process isn’t too cumbersome for people.” The county, he said, is “really trying to work with people to make it easy. Hopefully, they can streamline it because it is a lot paperwork…Paperwork can be scary especially if you lived up the hill for a couple of years.”

So far, Swizee said, the county and state agencies have been working with his family. “Fish and Wildlife were great to work…We’re getting that permit today, too…So far everyone has been really nice.”

For more information on the process of getting permits, click here.



  • Lots of paperwork and money and you will still have to get another state permit once state legalization officially happens.
    And if you have structures not up to code on your property, you will have to get them up to code to be in this process. Very expensive.

    It would be so great if fish&wildlife put funds into catching poachers rather than checking small grows, what do they know about water engineering anyway? Or focus on the federal forests where the real problems are happening? Oh thats right folks out there are too dangerous for poor f&w.
    Or maybe the feds could focus on the Bulgarian and Mexican cartel grows who are moving into rural neighborhoods and strong arming the neighbors to sell their land to them. Yes I have heard numerous first hand accounts, with mexi carts going in and tying people up, shooting the dogs and stealing what’s there with the message to move somewhere else, they want the property. Bulgarians I heard of are just threatening violence at this point.

    watch out folks, if you think the feds aren’t getting a copy of names and addresses of permit applications then you may b in for a big surprise. And the IRS too who can be even scarier.
    This county guy assuring you they won’t come in because Google earth shows lots of big grows???? Logic anyone? They took down sheriff allmans program in mendo.

    I hope it works but big doubts and still am not seeing the regs for indoor, which will skyrocket if permitting outdoor is too cumbersome.
    One indoor bulb broken outside pollutes&toxifys 55,000 gallons of water. One bulb. Not to mention the potential diesel spills. Seems way worse for the environment.

    • What a Debbie Downer! SNL did a skit on you recently, hahaha
      Re: indoor diesel grows ,the supes already banned all diesel gen grows in the wild lands.
      Allowing indoor only in the industrial zoned areas that are on the grid but will require a conditional use permit.

  • So glad to see that the sick patients will be able to get their medicine. Thank you.

  • Humboldt Produce Patient Association

    Congratulations Mark, to you and your family for being the first.

  • Pingback: Historic Day: First Applicants for the First Medical Marijuana … | MJ News Report

  • So kym, how many people showed up by the end of the day?
    Exactly! From 4000 plus outdoor grows in humboldt county, only a handful showed up.
    So what we see here is a complete failure, and again this is done with our hard earned tax money.
    The supes proved their ignorance with their so called pilot program sending in the sheriff’s office along with out of the area scientists, that were completely ignorant to the area and economy.
    The counties approach is off completely.
    Instead of pretending everything is just peachy and smiling about it just doesn’t compare to the truth.
    They don’t care about the salminoids, but use them to strong arm their way onto private land with help of the fishpolice.
    Why not just lay it on the table, and say it just how it is.
    Something like” we will impose a tax on cannabis farming”…
    Instead they pretend everything is fine and smile about their strange approach.
    Let’s mention the fact that our supervisors and the sheriff will tuck their tails once the fed comes in and asks about these farmers names while having sold them permits and collected revenue.
    Well that’s extortion.
    Our farmers expect more from the people that run this county.
    But our supes rather believe that this semi shady grey area of agriculture will come clean and legal over night. They are out of their minds and prove hereby how detached they really are from the hard working folks they are supposed to represent. This is sad!
    Humboldt has the strongest economy in the country and yet has no idea to find real competent people to run it to work hand in hand with the working cannabis farmers right here in our county.
    We don’t need smiles and promises, we need REAL help making this county what it deserves to be. Thanks to these clowns we have been left in the dust and off the map of cannabis tourism that is taking place in Washington and Colorado. Millions of dollars lost, that our schools and community is in desperate need of, due to their internal power struggle.
    The farmers are tired of this sort of supervising, and to gain their trust the county supervisors need to think of a real way to help and support them, without bringing the sheriff and fishpolice on to someone’s land to tell them all the things they are doing wrong. Nit picking every little thing that could possibly get picked apart. Most of the culverts in this county were placed in position by the logging industry a while back and to expect to tear down unpermitted houses like my neighbors that was built in the late 60’s is also uncalled for. First these folks were told they had 3 to 5 years to fix roads and culverts, than they are threatened to do so immediately. This is not right or constitutional.
    Our founding fathers knew we would be up against this sort of corruption and we the people have rights yet no one wants to mention our constitutional rights that some of us are being bullied out of.
    We need real help, not just another funny plan to extract money out of landowners pockets.
    How many years have these supervising people had and still haven’t come up with a general plan? Now all of a sudden you have brewed up some sort of solution over night trying to get ahead of state law?
    Thanks but no thanks, this is a complete failure and whoever came up with this should apologize and figure out how to pay back the tax payers money that was just wasted!
    And thanks for nothing!

    • Pretty sure your a bit confused. This “pilot program” you mention was fish and wildlife and region water board, supes had nothing to do with it. The entire state is subject to the same dfg and water board regs, so saying we have been left in the dust is way off base. The leg up that Colorado and Washington have, was caused by the voters at the state level, nothing to do with local government. In fact your county supes were the first to put a ordinance in place in our entire state. I believe you are way off base. California is the eighth largest economy in the world, Colorado and Washington don’t come anywhere close. I agree that it isn’t gonna be easy for the planning/building department to look at this scenario in an appropriate manner, and not treat these existing projects like new house construction, writing code violations left and right. We can only hope that they find a way to meet in the middle and not try to make the “hill folks” tear down their houses that were not permitted because they were afraid of having inspectors out. Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, the black market isn’t going anywhere, you can keep doing what you know and not worry about the current hustle. Everyone is in a big hurry to get compliment. What happens when they get compliment, and dont have a compliment market to sell product to? They go back to what they know, selling to their buddy’s buddy. Then they are registered growers, with no legal route of sale, that equals federal intervention?

      • Regional = 3 states. Whatever happens in the desert affects those who live in the mountains & visaversa. This itself is pure hogwash. The desert should be responsible for the desert, not mountain folk.
        We need a good decent representative with balls to defund all crazy agencies & laws. Take our counties back.

    • I find it funny when people who oppose pot regulation complain about how their “hard earned tax money” is spent. Pot producers and workers have been pretty sheltered from paying taxes for along time. And to say that all the problems are on federal lands is pretty disingenuous as well. Fact is, if you bought land, you are responsible for all that it is on it. The funky old house, the old logging roads, all of it. That is just how it works. I understand the frustration with regulation. Thats a given. But its probably a good idea to consider other points of view. What I see around here is a culture that really believes they should be able to do what they want on the land, regardless of downstream impacts. Just because you only contribute ‘a little bit of pollution does not exempt you from being part of the problem. We went through this with logging, now its time for pot production to pay its fair share into eliminating pollution.

  • I know it’s your counties bread and butter , but prison isn’t very fun and it wrecks good families. I HOPE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILL SUPPORT LEGISLATION. Just my opinion.

  • It’s great that all the biggest growers will now be able to “blow up” the new “legal” scene and righteously shut down any unlicensed mom n pops somehow remaining. But I will not cheer them on or congratulate them. Mark finally got popped once out in PV at a couple of his many grow sites but Gallegos gave him a tiny spank and business as usual rolled on. I don’t think the mega-grow mentality helped out our community or anybody much beyond the immediate families of those mega-grows. I won’t thank Gallegos or large growers with many properties and private aircraft and fortunes buried because I know these people weren’t doing it for awesome, wonderful reasons despite their jive. I’m just sorry to see the people here embrace regulations and taxations that will fatten the rich while knocking down the small scenes. It’s not something to celebrate.

    • I think there’s a lot of truth to this related to what is to come for the mom and pop, unless they want to play the black market game, but you really can’t blame the local players or politicians, state legislation legalized commercial production. The rest is history, I just hope we can some home hang on to our namesake.

    • “PV”… Potter Valley? af

    • You know it’s frustrating but I got to say, the ones who came out and organized and spoke – they were bigger players. Where were the Mom and Pops to speak up for themselves? We are going through it over here in Trinity and frankly the ones most afraid to come forward are the Mom and Pops, yet I suspect we are the majority. It’s time to stand up or be cut out I say. These laws aren’t the end all be all but they are a start and we can have an effect on how they evolve. By all means bitch and moan about it – but please come to meetings and call your officials – let them know you want a chance too.

  • Last election a lot of people voted against legal Marijuana. This election may be the same as the last one. Waiting for the election before regs. and permits seems a wiser move.

  • Emerald Everything Creative Group

    Another weed business named Emerald!
    #126 and counting.
    Good luck to the new Emeralds out there, not to be confused with Emerald or Emerald.

  • “It’s the first application for the first legal thing in California,” — I don’t really understand how this statement is true, there has been clubs for years…surely that has to count as a buisness, and pretty darn sure some permits had to be issued in order to get a club up and running.

    • The clubs have had a monopoly on it for years
      Ask any grower who has dealt with them if they got a fair shake.
      This is the first ordinance( besides mendos tags) that I am aware of being available to anyone.
      Try opening a dispensary without lawyers, accountants and engineers .
      That knocks 99 percent of people out of it.
      I’m curious if any of the people on here saying this isn’t for the mom and pops have attended any of the meetings
      Talked to the planners
      Met the fish and wildlife folks?
      I have

  • I went to a ” club / dispensary ” to find out about buying eatables. They wanted to charge a sales tax , I told them there is no tax on prescription medicine, they said it was classed as a food. Problem is food is not taxed. So this led me to do investigations. The county board of supervisors web page has a link concerning their daily minutes. I clicked on the page and low and behold all business , 34 items up for discussion were all tax related items.
    They are looking to find ways to pay for everything under the sun. County tax on pot, New tax to help the homeless find another place to camp. Tax on off road quads. My feeling is they meet to find more interesting ways to fleece our pockets. Now I am all for helping people but I would never ask another person to give me money for my adventures.
    Plus the bureaucratic mind set is # 1 keeping their jobs. I would love to receive $40,000-$60,000 a year telling other people how to spend their hard earned money, so I can have a job.

    • Wait until the state & federal taxes kick in too. Then the FDA regs & testing.
      Just like all the other businesses across the nation, the manufacturers & vendors will have to raise their prices to pay it all so they can continue being in business for a month or two longer.
      With that said, I would gladly pay county taxes if the funds stayed in the county. There shouldn’t be any fed regs or taxes or FDA, EPA, f&w, etc, it should all be state & county. The state should stay happy with their original payroll taxes. Enough is enough.
      Who’s going to be able to afford to purchase in the end? Nobody.

    • Absolutely true. And if a bureaucrat solves a problem, the bureaucrat is out of a job. af

  • We are facing a major social issue here, beyond environmental reform. Many people have been terribly affected by an unregulated industry. As daunting as bureaucracy can be, it is imperative for this program to have participation, unless of course we want to continue promoting environmental destruction, criminal activity, violence, poor labor treatment and conditions, and distribution of toxic medicine.

    • I couldn’t of said it better myself.
      This is how it’s been since I have been here.
      People (I have done it myself) blow it up till the police can’t ignorevit anymore or the Feds step in.
      I really hope this works , because at the rate we are going there won’t be a black market either. It drops every year and Humboldt is getting a bad name because of it.

  • I personally think it should be capped at 5000 sq feet.
    That would be sustainable

  • What a sad day not only in Humbolt History, but also in American History. I am saddened and bewildered that someone would have the audacity to say that cannibas would be the cause of such a rare birth defect, of which you probably have no clue about. Do you even have any idea, or have you even thought about, what may have been the cause of ones growth? Will you be one to make fun of and blame all the newborn children born with birth defects because of the Zika virus? Regardless of your veiws on pot, you should be ashamed on how you have portrayed those who were born with a lifetime of pain and disability. I’d like to see you walk in their shoes. I’m pretty sure with your attitude, you wouldn’t survive.

  • It’s not only a sad day in Humbolt History, but also American History. The fact that a citizen of this country still has the audacity to make fun of and berate a person who was born with a rare disability is mind boggling to me. I suppose you are also going to blame all of the pregnant women and their children that are born with the Zika virus because they are uneducated and undocumented. Shame on you. The problem with this country is that people like you have not yet been deported.

  • This is a start.im sure that there will be some changes and more rules,but give it time.we need to be able to have input too.i say good luck all.be legal follow the rules and be grateful it didn’t take longer for things to happen

  • Kym-
    Any more info on if Kent S and Hummap have sued, and what this means? Will the county accept applications still? I assume they will not be approved until this is settled? What is hummaps issue? I’m guessing the 1 acre grandfathered existing grows? Thanks for following this

  • 4000 plus grows? And we wonder why the rivers are going dry. How much water to grow one illegal plant? Yes its illegal. And why do we promote smoking, I thought smoking was bad for us.

    • Let’s take a guess here..
      The average Humboldt grow is about 2,000 sqft, let’s assume that grow uses around 50,000 gal of water per year (Less than half of the average California single family residence)
      50,000 gal x 4000 grows = 200,000,000 yearly gallons.
      Now we do not know what pecentage of that is actual surface water.. Could be 5% could be 90%, nobody knows.
      The Eel River high winter flows are about 11,000,000 gallons per second. So basically you could divert the river for 18.5 seconds and store Humboldts entire weed water needs for one year.
      We really do not have accurate data yet but one things for sure.. It’s not as bad as your government/media wants you to believe.

      • The problem I see with that is most of the water isn’t diverted in the winter, it’s diverted during low summer flows.

        • Facts are Neato

          What water are you referring too?
          Actual surface diversions?
          I would bet the percentage of surface diversions are considerably low in percentage of grows. Even if they’re not, our water consumption to residence comes far below the state average. Making Humboldt excellent Stewart’s.
          What’s next, making it illegal to be human?
          Another thing, legalization actually promotes more usage, only its “ok” because a permit has been filled and paid for.
          Domestic water use permits allow 10 acre ft or 3.5 million gallons of use per applicant. That’s considered domestic.
          In terms of “environmental impact”
          Nothing that we’ve seen compares to the consumption of a legal weed market.
          If taxes are what you’re lobbing for, then stop trying to church it up and just be honest.
          Since when did Humboldt become the cheerleaders for bureaucrates?

          • Storing enough water to care for marijuana plants through a long summer is difficult. Most people don’t have the capacity and government regulations make it difficult. Observations of a lifetime of living in my watershed indicate the creek is being drained during the summer.

            Now, do I worry that legalization might promote more water use that’s “‘ok’ because a permit has been filled and paid for?” Yes. I think you have a valid concern.

            • Ernie Branscomb

              I think that it would probably be a good idea to make it illegal to be human. There are too darn many of us, and we are all self centered and selfish.

              I agree, it’s more than the drought that’s draining our creeks. Again, the problem is us. I foresee that in the future we will all be requied to store our summer water from the winter. Properly built ponds are a real asset, both for ground water and storage. Tanks prevent evaporation, so they are perfect storage.

              I don’t think that we will concider taking care of the water anymore than the world conciders limiting the population. But, the world will be fine, however, we won’ be.

          • I want to save the water for humans, in case you don’t know you can live without weed but you can not live without water. I hear radio ads telling me if I use to much water at my house than I can be fined because of the drought were in. Its always the law abiding citizen that gets the shaft.

  • Shortly after full legalization, all the grows will be in places like Fresno and Merced. Some small time operators will be able to survive with “boutique” micro-weed, but when pot is retail $5/gram, it’ll be tough to compete without volume. Some Folks will enjoy other opportunities in the marijuna marketplace where you never touch the plant product, i.e. growlights, hydroponic systems, etc. http://marijuananames.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *