Some Mason County neighbors upset over pot-grow facility
But Mason County officials say it may be too late for people to stop the 21,000-square-foot facility.
Some neighbors worry it could attract crime and lower property values.
“It’s 100 feet off my back property,” said Kathy Gerchak. “If they’re (criminals are) going to break in, they’re going to break in to the back door or side, which is me.”
Gerchak’s home is just a stone’s throw away from Forbidden Farms’ proposed grow operation.
“It is creating a gold rush mentality,” added Gerchak. “It’s all about the money. We’re not using common sense, we’re not thinking about the common sense of this.”
Neighbor after neighbor complained to the Mason County commissioners, claiming that they had no idea the facility was in the works.
But Commissioner Randy Neatherin says the county advertised their public hearings several times before granting Forbidden Farms its building permits.
He says neighbors started sharing their opposition to the pot farm late in the process.
“After the fact, when it starts to be built in their back yard,” said Neatherin.
The fences are up and the construction is under way. Forbidden Farms’ attorney says the facility will comply with all state requirements for fencing, cameras, and environmental concerns.
Neighbor Ormand Dodge says he’s confident the facility will be a boon to the local economy.
“I’m not concerned about crime, I’m not concerned about traffic, I’m not concerned about any of that,” said Dodge. “It’s no different than the oysters other than the fact that it’s cannabis.”
But Gerchak says even if the county’s setback requirements have been met by the farm, marijuana shouldn’t be anywhere near families.
“These do not belong in residential neighborhoods,” she added.
Forbidden Farms’ attorney says they don’t yet have a license yet to process and grow marijuana – but they could get the state’s approval in as little as 30 days.
Neighbors want the county to re-examine their land-use policies to prevent more surprises from popping up elsewhere.