Carpinteria is a small town with big pride and many active, thoughtful residents participating in public debate on issues of importance. Cannabis has had its extended period in the hot seat under the community’s microscope and provoking passions on both sides. That’s why the agreement announced in last week’s CVN, “Cannabis Farmers and Watchdog Group Reach Agreement” (Vo. 27, No. 49), is such an encouraging development. Neighbors who at one time seemed light years apart found some common ground and a way to work together.

Clearly the smell is the issue with cannabis. As far as I can tell, the industry has settled in nicely while proving itself conscious of its surroundings and willing to blend in. Neighbors who are downwind bear the brunt of the odor issue, but otherwise, cannabis is economically fruitful and fits in with the established agricultural footprint of the valley. Impressively, these neighbors were fed up with a smell and took action by standing up to a sizable industry. Neighbors imposed their own odor control standards on farmers, and farmers listened while offering practical solutions based on their own expertise.

Constructive dialogue always starts from a place of believing there are real problems with real solutions that can fix them. It’s a good thing when that dialogue leads to mutual understanding, particularly when approaching complex issues like cannabis – which was illegal just a handful of years ago. I am proud of Carpinterians involved in this agreement for being of high enough character to see past their differences with minds open enough to find a shared vision for a better future.