The Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians has filed an application with Sonoma County, California officials to grow nearly 1,000 cannabis plants outdoors on land in Petaluma that it had previously considered for a casino, the North Bay Business Journal reports. The grow site is proposed to use 29 acres of the tribe’s 277 acres in the region.
The tribe owns the land; however, it has not been officially taken into trust as tribal, sovereign land, the report says, which means the same laws apply to the tribe’s property south of Petaluma as any other parcel in unincorporated Sonoma County.
Petaluma City Councilmember Mike Healy said the plan “would allow the tribe to get some economic return on its property without a casino.” The city council and area leaders have long sought to limit casino activity in Sonoma County.
The tribe’s application to cultivate cannabis on the land came three months after leaders agreed to extend an agreement with the county that no casino would be constructed on the property before Dec. 31, 2032. In exchange, the tribe, which closed its River Rock Casino for more than two months at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, was able to waive its $750,000 annual payments to the county last year and this year.
According to the application outlined by the Business Journal, the site plants include landscape screening and fencing, no storage of chemicals, a 100-foot setback from property lines, pine trees to mask the smell, and on-site security.
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