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Ca: Legality Of Ukiah Tribal Pot Operation Questioned‏


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Website: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/348
Author: Glenda Anderson

LEGALITY OF UKIAH TRIBAL POT OPERATION QUESTIONED

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.
 

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