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Humboldt medical cannabis farm talks about county permitting process

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WILLOW CREEK, Calif. - Off through a dirt road, hidden in the hills of Willow Creek, sits Humboldt Edge, a medical cannabis farm that recently got permitted by Humboldt County.

Owners, Samantha Shull and Matt Nagel, a married couple, said they were the second business in the county to submit a completed application.

"This is Humboldt County permitted cannabis, this is one of our house strains it's called Aphrodite," said Nagel.

Nagel gave North Coast News a tour of their 7,300 square foot farm. The farm is small in comparison to others, with only one full-time employee, but regardless of their size, county regulations are the same for all cannabis growers, and they said the process took well over a year.

Shull dealt with most of the permitting process for their farm. "For starters, it's a cultivation and operations plan where you detail all the operational aspects of your farm. You have to explain how you will be dealing with processing and trimming," said Shull.

Shull said they got inspected by the planning department and community services.

"The permit will be sent out to all the different departments; the planning department, the building department, environmental health, a whole array of different departments who then go through their own approval process and decide what they want to see out of your farm. That could be anything from how are you dealing with the septic," said Shull.

Even though the process was long, Shull said they still had it easier than other growers. Since they own their home on the farm's property, they have access to electricity from PG&E and water from Willow Creek Community Services.

"We had to ask the service district for permission to be able to use the water for the purposes of farming cannabis and they were fine with it," said Nagel.

They said they do not use harsh chemicals or pesticides, they try to do their business with minimal impact to the environment and once the flowers bloom and are ready for harvest, the couple sends their cannabis over to the sun-growers guild.

"[The guild] acts as a go between farmers and dispensaries, so that we don't have to spend three months in Southern California during the winter trying to make legal sales of our products," said Nagel.

And since the permits are given by the size of a farm, and not the number of plants, Nigel plans to plant more effectively.

"What I'll probably do next year, is get more plants closer together, in order to be able to optimize this space for production," said Nagel.

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The couple is now preparing for another set of permits, but this time from the state. Those regulations are not yet out but Humboldt Edge could only hope they have done enough to get approval by the state.

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