Pubdate: Fri, 30 Jan 2015
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2015 The Press Democrat
Author: Glenda Anderson


Mendocino County law enforcement officials are investigating the 
legality of a proposed large-scale indoor medical marijuana growing 
operation on tribal land outside of Ukiah, casting a cloud of doubt 
over the future of the unprecedented venture.

Mendocino County's sheriff and district attorney are seeking details 
about the proposal, revealed earlier this month, by the Pinoleville 
Pomo Nation and Kansas-based FoxBarry Farms to build an estimated 
2.5-acre indoor pot production facility just north of Ukiah.

FoxBarry officials said Wednesday they are scheduled to meet with the 
sheriff and district attorney as well as local marijuana growers to 
discuss the $10 million, 110,000 square foot plantation plan.

"We are fully committed to being in full compliance with local 
ordinances," FoxBarry president Barry Brautman said in an emailed 
response to questions about the potential hitch in his plans.

FoxBarry earlier said he expects to grow thousands of plants 
year-round in greenhouses on the rancheria.

Sheriff Tom Allman said he's not convinced the operation would be 
legal. He's spoken with officials at the U.S. Attorney's Office who 
said they have not been asked for or given permission for such an 
operation. The U.S. Attorney's Office has declined to comment on the issue.

But federal authorities in the past have quashed other large-scale, 
off-reservation cannabis cultivation operations.

Allman said that any operation that wouldn't be permitted 
off-reservation is unlikely to be allowed on Indian land.

Allman's queries have triggered an investigation by District Attorney 
David Eyster, spokesman Mike Geniella said. Eyster has requested 
details about the plans from the tribe and FoxBarry, Geniella said. 
Eyster will not be commenting on the plan until his review is 
concluded, he added.

The proposed tribal growing operation is believed to be the first of 
its kind. It's the first of three such operations planned in 
California by FoxBarry, a sign of marijuana's growing attraction as a 
business venture. FoxBarry, which also invests in tribal casinos and 
gas stations, has declined to reveal the locations of the other 
proposed marijuana operations.

As proposed, FoxBarry Farms will fund and operate the tribal 
facility, which will be a nonprofit. The operation will be growing 
award-winning brand-name pot developed by United Cannabis, a 
marijuana research and development company.

The marijuana will be sold only to California medical marijuana 
patients through dispensaries, in keeping with state law, Brautman 
said. There currently are no plans for a dispensary on site, he said.

Construction of the facility, which will employ between 50 and 100 
people, is slated to begin in February, Brautman said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom