County supervisors tighten cannabis regulations
At the July 16 County Board of Supervisors meeting, First District Supervisor Das Williams, representing the Carpinteria Valley, led two successful motions aimed at combatting malodors from cannabis cultivation. A motion also passed to cap cannabis acreage at the county-level, modelled after the cap previously set in Carpinteria.
“In Carpinteria, there is not a difference of opinion between the pro-cannabis crowd and the one that is critical of cannabis,” stated Williams, “We want effective, enforced odor control as quickly as possible.”
Williams’ proposals, both passed unanimously, were broken into three actions. First, the county is to impose an immediate nuisance abatement requiring that legal actions be taken against known odor vectors, especially in proximity to schools, in the Carpinteria Valley. With more effective odor control, Williams hopes that the conflict will subside, “we can achieve a community where we can live together and have prosperity in the ag-sphere but also have a reduction and/or an elimination of nuisance for the residential sphere.”
Williams’ second push was to require that by the day after Labor Day any nonconforming operators in the Coastal Zone must have effective odor control systems to continue qualifying for the Article 10 exemption, stating that “this idea came from folks critical of marijuana.”
In his third action, Williams called for the county to move up the timeline for odor control requirements, requiring that cannabis growers demonstrate odor control at the time they apply for a conditional use permit and/or a business license. “To me, moving odor control up in the process, through the permitting, is a no-brainer,” stated Williams.
While Williams’ motions for odor control passed with general support from all supervisors, the question of capping cultivation county-wide created slightly more fray, with Dennis Bozanich, deputy county CEO, warning that caps can sometimes allow a legal grey area where business owners can utilize the permitting process to “gobbl(e) up entitlement and ace out their competition.”
Ultimately, supervisors voted in favor of a cap. Staff were instructed to set the cap using a canopy for the amount of acres in the cannabis cultivation permit application pipeline as of July 9, the date of the last supervisors meeting when the vote should have taken place were it not for an extensive public comment period and a power outage. As of July 9, there were 207 applicants for land use permits. The proposed acreage will be voted on for approval at the next Board of Supervisors meeting on August 13.