Agriculture business wants to open cannabis farm

Company will seek cannabis license, then will begin operations



The breeders at Dewey Scientific say they hope to see “Pullman become a center of cannabis agriculture.”

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct statements made by Jordan Zager, co-founder and president of Dewey Scientific, and Paul Mihalyov, co-founder and vice president of Dewey Scientific. Mihalyov spoke with the Evergreen about possible factual inaccuracies regarding certain quotes, scientific information and the area’s residents’ attitudes about the farm. Mihalyov worked with the Evergreen to make edits to this piece so it reflects the business more accurately.

A cannabis farm is planned to be situated near the intersection of Country Club Road and Flat Road in Whitman County.

Dewey Scientific, an agricultural service in Whitman County, will build the farm to grow and conduct research on cannabis.

The research will include, “Analyzing the genetic influence of cannabinoid and terpenoid variation among plant populations,” said Dr. Jordan Zager, co-founder and president of Dewey Scientific.

While most cannabis growing operations are simply interested in maximizing THC content, Zager said they are targeting favorable agronomic traits to bring stability to the farming industry.

“From an evolutionary perspective, the center of origin for cannabis is on the other side of the world,” said Dr. Paul Mihalyov, co-founder and vice president of plant breeding at Dewey Scientific. “In order to be farmed efficiently on the Palouse, we need to identify traits that will help the plant adapt to this climate.”

The plans, he said, include breeding for natural genetic resistance to local pathogens, optimizing the flowering time for northern latitudes, and other agronomic qualities that can help scale up cannabis production.

There are some residents living 1.4 miles away who are opposed to the pot farm for health and odor reasons, Zager said.

“There is currently no evidence that supports the notion that a cannabis farm is damaging to health,” he said.

Situated just outside of city limits, the company has applied to the Whitman County Planning Commission for a new zoning classification. No new no zone changes are required for simply growing cannabis, according to Whitman County code.

However, the company plans to extract cannabis, which requires a zone change from the agricultural district to a limited light industrial district.

This zone change would require Selway Holdings LLC, the company that leases the land to Dewey Scientific, to apply for a conditional-use permit to allow them to grow cannabis, Zager said.

State regulators are in the process of relocating a Tier 3 cannabis producer-processor license to the site and will perform a final inspection in the coming weeks, Zager said. The farm will need to comply with rules and regulations defined by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Zager said this includes 24-hour camera surveillance, which is already done, but they still have to add certain signs, including one that states no minors can be on the property.

There will be an 8-foot tall fence surrounding the farm, he said.

A Tier 3 producer license allows for 30,000 square feet of plant canopy, which is not a lot, Zager said. An acre is about 40,000 square feet.

The producer-processor license allows for growing, processing and packaging marijuana, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Zager said there will be between 2,500 and 3,000 plants total. They do not plan on expanding the farm.

He said there will be cannabis plants on the property by the end of March or early April.