Near-forest cannabis farm OK’d

An indoor cannabis forest next to the Jacoby Creek Forest. Via Humboldt County Planning Commission

Daniel Mintz
Mad River Union

KNEELAND-ISH – The City of Arcata’s concerns about the proximity of a cannabis farm to a community forest border have been addressed, prompting a county Planning Commission permit approval.

​At their January 7 meeting, commissioners approved permits for a cannabis farm near the Jacoby Creek Forest.

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​Advanced by Emerald Coast Genetics, Inc., the project includes 11,440 square feet of mixed light cultivation off of Fickle Hill Road in the Kneeland area, an overall downscale from previously existing cultivation.

​Commissioner Noah Levy asked about Arcata’s concerns about setback from its community forest and timber restocking of a border area.

The Jacoby Creek Forest and the Emerald Coast genetics farm site. City of Arcata image

​County Planner Christopher Alberts reported that concerns about timber conversion were discussed during meetings of the city’s Forest Management Committee (FMC). “From that meeting, they settled on a restocking plan,” Alberts said, adding he spoke with city officials the week of the meeting and “their concerns have already been mitigated.”

​The border buffer area will be restocked and a 150-foot setback from the forest boundary has been agreed upon.

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​County Senior Planner Cliff Johnson said he was at the FMC meetings and the committee’s setback and replanting recommendations are part of the permit conditions.

THERE SHE GROWS The Emerald Coast Genetics grow includes multiple greenhouses, production buildings and a residence. At upper left is the Jacoby Creek Forest. Via

​Alberts added that he’s worked with Irvine, California-based project agent and parcel owner Bruce Zimmerman since 2017 on the application and “it has been a great pleasure to be on this operation.”

​He said the project has on-grid power with emergency-only generator use, spotted owl surveys have been done and greenhouses will be covered by light-blocking tarps.

​The former operation included about 18,000 square feet of combination mixed light/outdoor cultivation and the approved project increases the mixed light element and eliminates the outdoor area.

​The commission’s approval vote was unanimous.

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