Regarding marijuana farming in San Juan County(SJC) I'd like to bring up an issue. Recently one of the local online news websites published an editorial by John Evans where he discusses local pot farming.
From my experience in the local marijuana growing business I believe Mr. Evans is misinformed on the subject. Further, I found it interesting that Island Guardian chose not to publish my response to Mr. Evans. Please read on...(to Island Guardian/Mr.Evans)
I would like to respond to your recent column regarding cannabis farming in San Juan County. My name is Jay Ibold and I'm the guy who got San Juan Sun Grown (SJSG) up and running. SJSG is a tier 3 Washington Liquor Control Board (LCB) licensed pot farm out on the West side.
After reading your column I figured I could make you less 'grumpy' about the marijuana farming in San Juan County. I propose doing this not by suggesting you take a bong hit but by clearing up some misunderstandings that are revealed in you column. You wrote:
"All the rest of the County’s upland and shoreline property owners face a mountain of land use regulations and restrictions at every turn. They are required to spend thousands of dollars in fees and hired experts. They face long delays to get a permit. I guess we should just like it or lump it, and accept that the marijuana business doesn’t have to pay permit fees. They don’t need to hire experts for land use approvals. With no permit requirements there are no weeks and months of delays for County permission."
Mr. Evans, I was responsible for SJSG's permitting here on the County level. The process started in January and is still going. I've had the help of a legal team of 1-3 attorneys for the last 10 months. Numerous permit fees were paid and paid. I contracted two civil engineering firms for stormwater and wetland delineations (Landtech Engineering & Surveying and SoundEco). We've been thru not one but two SEPA reviews.
We've been under intense scrutiny from WA DOE and LCB for months. Seems that now I'm on a first name basis at the SJC Planning Dept. with Julie, (2) Lisa's, Anni, Sam, John, Dave, Fred, Chris...(sorry if I forgot one of you nice folks!). As a local builder I can tell you the mountains of delays, regulations and restrictions I've encountered with SJSG make residential shoreline development look like child's play! Thanks for your time.