All-day cannabis hearing draws speakers in two meeting rooms across Santa Barbara County

We spent the morning at City Hall supporting the local cannabis farming community.

The cannabis industry continues to contribute in a positive way to the local community in the form of jobs, economic vitality, increased property values, philanthropic giving, tax revenue and sustainable farming techniques which will preserve the agricultural character of our community. Regulation and oversight by the county is the necessary answer, not prohibition.
We are proud to be part of this movement. We love our community and we believe in the power of conscious cannabis. #LETITGROW

Article Published by By JOHN PALMINTERI | KEYT | JUL 9, 2019

Citizens from a number of residential, business and agricultural areas with specific interests in the cannabis industry spoke out strongly to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

Some were in person in Santa Maria.

Others were speaking via remote equipment from the Santa Barbara hearing room.

"We need to trust you to do the right job," was one of the direct messages the board heard.

Many people who were concerned about health and safety issues, property values, odors, tourism impacts and the locations of the grows, straddled the line on a full scale opposition rather most wanted appropriate controls in place to have the industry fit in as approved by the voters.

It was not easy to navigate. That's why, in part, it took two hearing rooms on each end of the county to manage the response.

The hearing took all day.

Many speakers had "Let it grow" stickers on.

One speaker says he and his partners were completing each and every requirement but had to deal with ten agencies.

Carpinteria growers said cannabis is changing their valley but it's necessary since the flower industry is largely going away.

Anthony Staal with the growers said, "Because I saw many agriculture lands that were deteriorating, getting ready to be torn down and people wanted to come in and had plans to develop these agriculture lands  — as a result of cannabis coming in we were able to take ag lands and restore the green houses."

Recently Carpinteria had a meeting about the issues right outside of the city limits and agreed to speak out to the board with a resolution and a presentation in person. That was done by Mayor Wade Nomura who drove to Santa Maria. Many elected officials attended the meeting or sent high ranking staff members.

 Some Carpinteria residents say the grows hurt the economy but Staal says it has been "providing thousands of jobs in the Carpinteria Valley alone."  Several workers also spoke saying they were able to make a decent income from the work.

Two Goleta leaders see it differently.

Michelle Greene with the City of Goleta said, "Cannabis uses near residential areas affect property values and therefore property tax revenue. Similarly, cannabis uses could decimate tourism." 

Goleta Chamber President Kristen Miller said, "Our problem with outdoor cannabis growing is the smell. It  is also a recognizable odor associated with marijuana smoking and the perception is negative." 

A cannabis worker says she sees a way through the controversy.

Torey Schreiner works in Carpinteria.  "The only way forward is to continue to regulate, work together and invest in better technologies and practices for all farms," she said.

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