Sierra County Gets Cooperative
Recently The Prospect encouraged local business people to make some money on medical cannabis before marijuana legalization drives production to the Central Valley.
Little did we know someone was already working on that.
Many cities and counties are rushing to zone and tax cannabis production. Currently in Sierra County there is no tax and no zone. Redding has 15 cannabis clubs currently, but there are only very small, secretive coops in Sierra County; a small, secretive coop in Quincy; a small but busy dispensary in Truckee. Most medical cannabis patients in Sierra County who wanted to purchase from a coop would have to travel either to Susanville or to Colfax.
The person working toward opening a Sierra County cooperative asked to give this interview only if their name isn’t used. She or he simply doesn’t want a lot of attention until their ducks are completely lined up, and maybe not even then. We’ll refer to them as "Farmer Green".
Prospect: What made you decide to open a coop in Sierra County?
Farmer Green: It would be of benefit to local patients who currently have to drive to Colfax. A lot of people who need medical cannabis can’t drive or travel. This way, they’ll be able to have clean, safe, legal medical marijuana. Also, some people who need medical cannabis can’t smoke. We’ll have smokeless products available.
There are other healing places in the county, like the Hot Springs and some massage therapists. This will be like that.
Prospect: Aren’t you concerned that more Sierra County residents will start using marijuana.
Farmer Green: Not really, no one will be able to get cannabis unless they have a doctor’s recommendation and are members. With any luck some of the local speed freaks might switch to cannabis. Anyway, let’s face it, people who drink and do speed are out fighting and getting in trouble; people who smoke cannabis stay home. Sick people often stay home, too. We aren’t about encouraging anything.
Prospect: What do think will be the response of the county government?
Farmer Green: I think it will be positive. Our members won’t have to traffic with criminals to get their medicine. We’ll be keeping money in the community that would have gone elsewhere, or to criminals.
As far as local people go, on the one hand a lot of them don’t like it; on the other hand, people here have always done things their way. This is just more of that. Most people, once they see we aren’t going to have pot heads hanging around all day, and that we’re a normal business, will accept us. Besides, I know hundreds of people here, they know me.
Prospect: When are you going to begin accepting applications.
Farmer Green: It will take a couple of months. We don’t want anything to go wrong. We’re making sure we understand the law. It will also be about three months before we have any cannabis to sell.
Prospect: How many applications will you take? Will this be a multi-million dollar business?
Farmer Green: No, we will be limited to the number of members we feel we can effectively serve. We aren’t sure how many that will be, but certainly not hundreds. We mostly want to serve local patients. We also won’t get rich; the operation is a coop and will have a $0 balance at the end of the year. We’ll charge enough to cover the facility, security and insurance, to pay culinary staff who prepare edible cannabis, and to cover administrative costs.
Prospect: Will you pay sales tax?
Farmer Green: That’s one of the questions we haven’t answered. Technically, no one is buying anything, the members already own the cannabis, they are just paying costs. Still, many places choose to pay sales tax, which adds a little money to the county. We would be happy to pay a yearly permit fee to the county, if they had such a program.
Prospect: Then what, patients give you their paperwork and leave with ganja? Is it self-serve?
Farmer Green: No, it will be a process. We’ll have medical records which have to be protected under the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act. You’d have to show your prescription, which we copy and enter into our records. Those records are strictly protected and can’t be opened without a court order. The records will be digital and will be password protected.
Prospect: Can you tell us where the business will be?
Farmer Green: No, sorry. It’s a former business, that’s all I can say right now.
Prospect: OK. Well, I think I have arthritis in my earbone, can you hook me up?
Farmer Green: Sorry, you’ll have to get a prescription from a medical doctor and then join the coop.
I'm your Green Doctor
Not a cannabis Kevorkian of Hippocratic hemp
Just your Green Doctor
Don't you think I'm Heaven sent?
I'm your Green Doctor
Smoke two joints and call me in the morning
I'm your Green Doctor
Licensed by the government