‘Out in the Sun, Out in the Wind’: Opening a Cannabis Business in a Gray Market

Care By Design from Kim Sallaway

High CBD hash oil sticks from Care By Design which was raided in Santa Rosa this week. High CBD products are generally used medicinally to treat illnesses like epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis rather than recreationally.  [Photo by Kim Sallaway]

Wednesday, a well-known cannabis extraction company, Care By Design was raided in Sonoma County. A company spokesperson insists the business was in the process of being permitted. The DEA and Santa Rosa police raided it just as the city was developing an ordinance which will allow some types of cannabis extraction. Law enforcement, however, seized assets and put one man in jail. According to the Press Democrat, Narcotics Sgt. Rich Celli of the Santa Rosa Police stated, “Many people believe the law is in flux — it’s not, don’t do it.”

But marijuana laws are changing and as they change, farmers and business owners wanting to be pioneers in a legal marketplace face not only a daunting permit process but a world in which local law enforcement may not agree with the planning department or with the County Supervisors or with the federal government. The laws, in spite of what Celli stated, are in flux and those who want to surf the legitimization wave have to be very careful as they navigate the treacherous waters.

mikal Jakubal 215 nursery

Sign advertising Jakubal’s nursery alongside the main road through town. [All photos by Mikal Jakubal unless otherwise stated]

Mikal Jakubal, the owner of a bamboo business in Southern Humboldt for the last ten years, is facing these issues as he attempts to shift to selling cannabis starts in his nursery. Jakubal, whose small business is located five miles west of Redway in the tiny town of Briceland, has both sexed (only the female marijuana plants are typically grown) seed plants in two gallon grow bags and clones in 4″ pots.

“I don’t need to be a dispensary,” he explained, “because I am not selling any finished products just plants.” He is offering starts which have been acclimatized “out in the sun…out in the wind.” They are hardier than those grown only indoors or in protected greenhouses.

Jakubal has filled out permits and consulted with his county supervisor. “I’m really stoked that Humboldt County is proactive on this,” he said.

Jakubal is attempting to follow the law–he collects sales tax which he returns to Humboldt County, he makes sure anyone buying plants shows their 215 and their California I.D. He believes he is legal. In fact, recently, his small business was visited by a public official. “My whole nursery relies on stored water,” Jakubal explained. “He came here to see how a small cannabis farm can do things right.”

But, there is no doubt that, like other cannabis farmers and business owners, he might face legal repercussions trying to follow rules and regulations that are still in flux. “It’s like trying to jump through hoops into a black hole,” he explained. Though Humboldt County is one of the first in the state to set up rules for growers and businesses to follow, the rules are unfinished and Jakubal is trying to be compliant with regulations that aren’t yet completely set up.

Mikal from the air

Jakubal who is a photographer and respected documentary maker provide this image from his drone showing his nursery from the air.

The professional greenhouses and healthy plants at his business look like they could belong to any small nursery except, of course, that until this year, a marijuana plant nursery didn’t exist legally in Humboldt County. Jakubal is trying to develop a name as a fish friendly (a term used to indicate the cannabis is grown with stored water,)  environmentally sound, locally owned business. But his attempts to contact a local newspaper in order to advertise never got a reply. Other businesses are wary of being associated with him.

Mikal

Flyer used to promote Jakubal’s business.

“For the first time Humboldt County has been ahead of the game,” Jakubal explained and he’s excited to be part of the change.

Mikal6

Sexed plants in two gallon grow bags are grown from local seed. Not pictured are clones in 4″ pots.

“This is going to be normal in a year or two,” Jakubal states. It’s almost normal now. The nursery is selling a number of plants. “People buy just one or they can buy a lot more. On average I sell 10-20 per person. I’ve had people come from as far away as Redding—It’s really hard to get good seed plants….Most of the seeds I grow here are from local breeders.”

Jakubal said people buy his plants for many reasons. “One woman had deer get into her garden–chewed everything to the ground, other people have clones that “flipped” on them, or they miss-sexed a few.”

Just recently, he said, “One of the Humboldt homesteader/grower community’s original founders just came into my roadside cannabis nursery, bought six plants on the books, with sales tax, and loaded them into his Prius.”

He’s excited about his new business and trying to make sure it conforms to the shifting rules. “I just want regulation that makes sense,” he explained. “Any of us in a legit business want regulations that work….I’d much rather deal with permits and bookkeeping than cops in black helicopters.”

Like his plants, Jakubal is a bit unprotected at this point. He’s “out in the sun…out in the wind” waiting for the regulations that will safeguard his business.  Pioneering is a hard to do alone. He invites local growers to join him. “Hey, come and make history and buy plants from me,” he offers. “This is a business and it’s legitimate.”

Will Jakubal’s road-side nursery grow to be another healthy commercial establishment paying taxes in Humboldt or, like Care By Design, the business raided in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, will it be the focus of unwanted attention from law enforcement?

Stay tuned.

mikal4

Jakubal carefully sexing a marijuana plant. He is looking for either the slender white strands that indicate the plant is a female or the small green sacks that indicate it is male.

 

 

 

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22 comments

  • The bust went against what that bum Obama said about leaving states to police their own. Why did they choose California to f-ck with instead of Colorado, Washington, or Oregon? Cops are pigs who take advantage of “in flux” legality to make some money for their locale and f-ck with cool people the loser cops don’t like.

    • Dude was a narc && busted for 12000 plants in the 90's

      The dude that got busted is convicted felon & from what they are saying on Loco a narc. The Feds probably had a hard on for him. It’s not like he was a legit business man.

  • From what I understand, the feds only opted not to exercise their jurisdiction via the DOJ in states that govern themselves, however, this doesn’t mean that a permitted business can operate without full compliance, there is business, building, environmental and land use compliance factors that need to be considered here. Ultimately, the feds can exercise their jurisdiction through other departments. The question lies, why aren’t federal violations treated like a code violation rather than a cannabis violation. Should they be allowed to seize plants and real property as a result of cannabis under our MMRSA framework, or rather fine a business appropriately, or ask them to shut down for environmental and OSHA violations? Additionally, the Care by Design raid was organized by Sonoma Law Enforcement, not necessarily the feds. Different animals here. If you are on the path to compliance and need assistance in navigating the process, consult with AgDynamix for your permitting, business, site, and employment compliance efforts. From concept to completion they will help you dot your I’s and cross your T’s.

    (707)502-0217

    • It’s called a sneak and peek. While the feds may not be “involved”, they are the ones who want to know what is going on. No matter how hard we try and dress all this up as ligit? It’s still against the law federally.

  • Paper pusher for a living.

    The process is no harder than a college application. However if your head in the clouds and unable to remember your address the hoops are gonna seem pretty high.

  • They are grabbing all the money they can get before it’s legalized…they want the money….before it’s gone.

  • Paper pusher for a living.

    There’s a great thing happening go those that can adapt. Two of the biggest players in Portland right now are Frumboldt. However of your not looking to leave the hills the story is a bit diff

  • Nice set up/operation with the commercial “starts,” garden. However, providing photos of hundreds of plants is begging for attention from the feds, imo, especially in the current state of flux, as encountered by the Care By Design folks.

    • except the CBD folks didn’t get busted by the feds. Plant count isn’t relative anymore, they go by square feet.

  • Reality v. perception

    There is one very important fact of law that seems to get lost over and over in these discussions: under current California law it is still illegal to make any profit whatsoever from cannabis, medical or otherwise. Not a dime. If you can jump through all the MMJ hoops you may cover reasonable expenses, and that’s it. This “in flux” thing may be true in that we all expect the laws to change, and that there are a lot of anticipatory regulations being created and altered, but the actual law is never “in flux” – it’s legal or not, period. I think everyone has gotten so comfortable with very little enforcement that under the guise of MMJ they’ve come to believe their profit-making enterprises are legal. They aren’t.

  • Well my interest is not the $$$ it’s what can be done to help nature and people recover from NO HEMP and NO CANNABIS. Please ANYONE WHO GROWS FROM SEED > give some male plants to bee keepers who dont grow cannabis and put them near the hives. Hemp and cannabis are WIND POLLINATED so bees never go to the female plants because they are too STICKY! Instead they consume the POLLEN and have a great source in FALL.
    Read more here >> http://peaceandplanting.garden/heads-up-oregon-re-2015/
    BEE the NEWS!!! is about halfway down that page. Plant diverse flowering things for the entire year to help the BEES!

  • Dude runs a risk.
    I wish him the best but I wouldn’t have permitted the pics. In fact I’d request they be removed from the site.

  • sharpen your pencil

    What I find interesting though, is the fact that these people think because the store water over the off season that they aren’t still stealing from the environment. Either way they do it they are still stealing from a dwindling water supply. More of these dipshits should be looking into hydro systems. But that would take too much out of their off season travel/party fund!

  • I understand he sent the pics. But we have all done shit we regretted later. I took pics of a crop to a photo shop in 1990 and then noticed my license plate in one. ( yikes) Just thinking it might be in his best to write u a nice letter requesting they be removed before he gets a visit from the man. Truly he’s small potatoes but size doesn’t seem to be the deal breaker. At the same time no one has gone after wonderland so maybe it’s all good.

    • sharpen your pencil

      Your [edit] completely missing the point. This idiot wants to promote his business out in the open, so be it. He can deal with the heat from the feds when it comes! You make your bed, you lie in it!

      • BEST reply!

        • sharpen your pencil

          Some people are just too stupid to be able to take things at face value. They think too much. Sometimes, actually most of the time the easiest and most sensible things are just that, easily sensible. They want to munipulate a story for their own understanding, it’s hard not to understand what’s going on here…… Apparently shortjohnson is one of those people…..

  • Amen

  • Testing 1 2 3….and we will see what happens with this!

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