City staff, CTI answer questions, concerns at informational “kick-off” meeting

About 50 residents gathered at a community meeting on January 11 to find out more about the proposed “cannabis cultivation campus” that is currently being considered by the City of Colusa.

Described by Interim City Manager as a “kick-off meeting,” Dunn said that there could be a additional similar community meetings with CTI in the future.

He added that over the course of the project approval process, citizens would have multiple opportunities to comment at public hearings during planning commission and city council meetings.

In addition to city staff, multiple representatives from Cultivation Technologies Inc., the company currently working with the city to establish the cultivation facility, were on hand to offer up information and field questions from the public.

Among them were Chief Financial Officer Miguel Mota, Chief Executive Officer Justin Beck, Chief Operating Officer Rick Probst, and Chief Counsel Rob Bernheimer.

The first topic discussed by the CTI team, even prior to the period of public comment, was whether the project would generate odor in town. Probst said that, because the growing takes place in a closed indoor environment with gas tight rooms and carbon filters, odors from the growing facility would not be an issue. He added that the warehouses where the finished product is stored would feature negative air pressure, eliminating the chance of odors from escaping there.

“We can unequivocally say that there is not going to be any odor from this facility,” Probst said.

Probst also explained CTI’s business model prior to the public asking any questions. Probst explained that CTI had formed its business model after the state’s new regulations were announced. Essentially, CTI will lease space to growers, or teams of growers, who will operate at the facility under the brand of Coachella Premium Cannabis. The growers under the Coachella brand will be held to certain standards established by CTI.

“While we don’t necessarily control those entities or teams, what it does is allows us to expand the scope of what we’re allowed to have under one license, but it also empowers other teams or lessors at our facility that wouldn’t normally have the investment dollar or capacity to build a project of this magnitude,” Probst said.

From the public

When Dunn opened up the meeting for questions, Marilyn Acree, a former Colusa City Councilmember, still had concerns over CTI’s business model and whether CTI’s lessees would be held to the same standards as CTI.

Beck answered that they weren’t only tenants, but licensees, and that there would be quality control mechanisms in place to hold them to the Coachella Premium Cannabis brand standard. If a grower doesn’t comply with those standards, they would be sent packing.

There were still some concerns about odor expressed in the question and answer period, and one resident asked whether a power failure could potentially cause an odor issue. According to Beck, there would be fail-safes in place, including generators, that would prevent such a problem from occurring.

Other residents expressed concerns over disposal of waste products and wastewater, in addition to public safety and code enforcement.

In terms of water, CTI staff said that the entire grow system would be self-contained, and that the facility would not include outdoor holding ponds for water. For plant matter, they said that there would be very little left after the flower harvesting and THC extraction processes.

Towards the end of the meeting, Colusa resident Jim White stepped up to the podium and asked if CTI had a timeline for when they would be moving into Colusa.

“When do these millions start rolling into the city of Colusa?” White asked. “We’re in desperate need. We need some revenue here.”

Beck said that CTI would be looking to finish the project from within a year of receiving the necessary entitlements.

“It could be a little longer, a little shorter, but that’s probably around the timeline,” Beck said, adding that money could “reasonably” be coming to the city within a year and a half, depending on the entitlement process.

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net