Sonoma County challenges for pot supremacy as others turn away

By Peter Fimrite : sfchronicle – excerpt

Sonoma embraces craft cannabis as one of its prize crops. photo by zrants

Locally sourced bat guano and other manure-based fertilizers will power Erich Pearson’s biodynamic pot farm outside the city of Sonoma, which seeks to harness the forces of the earth, the cosmos and the free market.

Craft cannabis is becoming a cousin to craft beer in Sonoma County, and the venture by the founder of the San Francisco Patient and Resource Center, or SPARC, is among several operations awaiting permits to grow and manufacture medical marijuana — and, presumably, recreational pot in the future.

Around the state, the mainstreaming and legalization of marijuana is prompting many cities, even liberal ones, to fear trouble and shun the exploding industry.

But parts of Sonoma County, and especially Santa Rosa, are making the redolent herb their own, viewing it as more akin to beer, wine and fine food as a driver of jobs, tourism and tax revenue.

“Sonoma County is very welcoming,” said Pearson, who plans to organically grow an acre of cannabis from seed using a variety of sustainable techniques, including the loving application of bat excrement to roots, preferably during the summer solstice. “This county is known for high-quality food and high-quality consumable products. I think cannabis in Sonoma County will follow that path.”… (more)

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