Some Mason County neighbors upset over pot-grow facility

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pot1SHELTON, Wash. — A South Sound community is poised to put up a fight against a proposed marijuana grow operation.

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.

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  • mind Your Own

    Get over yourselves. Who cares what someone does on/with their property. When did we all get so nosey about what others do. Pot is legal deal with it. It does not affect families unless you abuse it, alcohol is far worse more people die from alcohol related incidents than pot. Those that oppose it should remove the stick from their you know what and mind their own business.

  • Roloaddict

    It is about working your entire life to have a home and land that is free from influences you don't want. In this case, an industrial operation with traffic, odor, and security issues in a residential area. The fact that it is Pot is one thing, the fact that your government officials can't get that, is the bigger deal. A lie by omission is still a lie. The growers here lied to the neighbors about their plans to buy time. The County used outmoded methods to advertise their meetings, then claimed that no one came. Once the neighbors found out the truth, they came, and back-peddling commenced.
    When the IRS is a hammer for the party in power. When the NSA snoops on your "habits". When your elected officials don't protect your basic property rights and just expect you to roll over. Then only the foolish sheep will say "Get over it" while they get high enough to forget what America was.

    • Phil DeBowl

      What about the property owners right to use their land in a legal / regulated business?
      I worked all my life to have a home and land away from the influence of neighbors who think they have a right to deny others their right to use their land in a legal,regulated way

  • Dave

    I have owned my property in Gray’s Harbor County for 25 years. Green Freedom has been operating next door for several months, the odor is often horrific. Be less worried about crime, when your home becomes a place you can no longer enjoy you will understand. I can live with the lights, almost constant noise of the fans, and there is so much more, but the smell is not bearable. You homeowners who are upset might try to unite, contact ORCAA, try to force filter system requirements. Perhaps visit an area that has a grow operation so that you understand. Good luck

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