Proposed Buellton pot grows pit a vintner against weed farms

August 9, 2019

Santa Barbara West Coast Farms project site

The owner of a rural Buellton winery has appealed proposals for two large marijuana grows that would be located next to his vineyards, a matter that came before the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Thursday. [Cal Coast Times]

Blair Pence owns Pence Vineyards & Winery, which is located on a 220-acre ranch along Highway 246 outside the Buellton city limits. Pence recently appealed plans for two separate marijuana cultivation projects that would be located next to his winery and vineyards.

One project, which is a proposed Santa Rita Valley AG operation, is situated on a 38-acre site. Project plans call for 32 acres of outdoor pot cultivation, as well as 25 320-square-foot shipping containers that would be used for drying and storing marijuana.

The second project, which is a proposed Santa Barbara West Coast Farms operation, is situated on an approximately 73-acre site that was previously used for berry and squash farming. Project plans call for 45 acres of outdoor cultivation and five acres of space for a nursery and the processing and storage of cannabis.

Pence is appealing the projects on a number of grounds, including that they would create an over-concentration of marijuana grows along Highway 246. The winery and vineyards owner also claims the marijuana grows would create foul odors, security issues and excessive traffic that would cause dust flows, which would impact the health of his crops.

On Thursday, planning commissioners raised concerns about the projects and delayed ruling on them. County planning staff, who have already approved permits for the projects, are recommending that commissioners deny Pence’s appeals.

In recent years, Santa Barbara County has emerged as the unlikely capital of California’s legal pot market, leading to a backlash from residents and vintners impacted by the smell, as well as farmers faced with concerns over crops becoming tainted. In both the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria valleys, complaints have arisen about the smell of marijuana overwhelming wine tasting rooms downwind of the grows and polythene hoop houses becoming eyesores.

The county planning commission will reconvene on Sept. 13 to discuss the appeals of the rural Buellton projects.


Coffee and 30-Day Godzilla Wonder arent Anglo drugs. Booze is Anglosaxondom’s soul. And tabacco that was illegal in England until the Anglo settlements were failing, N America.


No different than here in SLO County. Edna Valley wineries that have been big supporters of John and Debbie for years didn’t like the hemp smell around their winos so they got Debbie to lead a moratorium. So much for free market Republicans. Nope. Special interest whores like the others. At least Hill had the balls to admit he was doing it because the money guys were squeezing him.


For Adam Hill more like the Pot guys didn’t meet his price.


Weed vs Wine, who will win, the pretentious alcoholics or the lazy stoners?




May the highest bribe win.

Russ J

One mind numbing substance against another. Just grow beef and chicken.


But the fermentation plant near my place that literally could be mistaken for a sewage plant is better? People cemented sucking wells up care about water, water and water. Slo county business love their niche, and keep others out. Like banning food trucks in San Luis downtown. Slo county loves to suppress the free market and uses Gov to do it. Sounds pretty crooked to me. Mcphees just did this using John Peschong in Templeton near York mountain where hemp was proposed to grow, cannabis too, and some of the crop was being used for medical research. Boycott Mcphees, bad food, and overpriced; I have wasted money there, ribs were dry, and expensive. And keep politics out of most commerce. Ecology is totally different than enterprise. Lucky enough I saw Neil Young at slo brew, down with rich folks bad vineyards. Dry farm or bust. Tin soldiers and Peschongs coming…


Nobody is going to “boycott McPhee’s.” I live in Templeton and McPhee’s is a thriving business with excellent food. You sound old and grumpy.


I boycott Government getting involved in free market making it; not free. Especially when my taxes go to it. Grumpy and getting older; yes.


He sounds old and grumpy? His name is “oldtimer” – that should give you a clue slodoc. I would say he happily proclaims it!

And he’s right. Ian made better food when he was the Chef at Sow’s Ear in Cambria. Better taste less pretense I always say.