Peschong plagues his constituents with next-door cannabis

October 6, 2019

Supervisor John Peschong

Opinion by SLO Cannabis Watch Group

Following our last opinion, we expected San Luis Obispo County Supervisor John Peschong to disavow himself of his assertion that he ‘owned’ SLO County’s Title22/23 cannabis ordinance. Instead, Mr. Peschong further entrenched himself and stated at the Sept. 19 Templeton Area Advisory Group (TAAG) meeting, “For me, it’s a property rights question…. Everybody has the rights on their property but your property rights end at your property line and somebody else’s property rights start.”

The Paso Robles Press further elaborated, “Peschong told the crowd that light, smell and sound nuisances are driving the neighbor-to-neighbor conflict in the community, also noting there is an overall concern for water use.”

Two key takeaways are: (1) Mr. Peschong’s misleading notions of property rights and (2) his undue characterization of the next-door cannabis problem as a “neighbor-to-neighbor conflict.”

Mr. Peschong clearly does not distinguish cause from effect, for he impugns and blames his constituents for their seeming inability to get along with proposed cannabis producers next door. We remind viewers of last spring’s York Mountain cannabis appeal hearing in which Mr. Peschong dismissed and trivialized his constituents’ objections to the proposed cannabis farm. Instead, he conveniently chalked up the controversy as a neighbor-to-neighbor conflict.

The truth is plain and simple. Mr. Peschong simply has not admitted that the failures of SLO County’s cannabis ordinance are rooted in the specifics of how it permits noxious, industrial emissions next to homes and business, introduces unmitigated security risks to neighbors, fails to preserve neighborhood character and offers no enforcement assurances with the county’s limited resources.

Instead, he trivializes the conflict as a mere homegrown neighbor conflict, a strange tactic given how many of the proposed grows originate from out-of-state multi-national corporations and shell companies using local grow sites as a “home address.”

Regarding Mr. Peschong’s property rights comment above: This type of jade’s trick is understandable but squashes any substantive discussion of the issues. If everyone’s property rights ended at their ‘property line, why on earth would SLO’s cannabis ordinance include a 300 foot setback between the cannabis and the neighboring property? It would appear the ordinance has stripped the cannabis grower’s property rights within his property line.

Off topic, perhaps someone in county planning can substantiate how it arrived at a 300 foot setback requirement when cannabis odors can drift half a mile or more? Many residents we have spoken with in SLO and Santa Barbara counties report smelling this stuff from several thousand feet away. Residents throughout the state report the same thing.

For reasons of compatibility, a swine farm is the closest comparison we have to a cannabis marijuana or hemp farm. SLO County appropriately restricted hog ranches in Title 22:30: “Hog Ranch Ordinance 22.30.100 – Animal Facilities – Specialized E. Hog ranches. The raising or keeping of more than three sows, a boar and their unweaned litter is subject to the same standards that are required of beef and dairy feedlots by Subsection C. A hog ranch shall be located no closer than one mile from any residential category; and no closer than 1000 feet from any school, or dwelling other than those on the site.”

Clearly, our residents’ homes are treated as sensitive receptors in the hog farm ordinance, so why would Mr. Peschong or anyone in county planning turn a blind eye to residents when dealing with something so similar?

Even the SLO County Planning Commission last May issued a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to protect residences as sensitive receptors. No action resulted.

In fact, a delegate at the Sept. 19 TAAG meeting even asked Mr. Peschong for his opinion on outdoor grows. His response: “location.” If Mr. Peschong’s opinion on outdoor cannabis growing is location-dependent, then it makes even less sense why he fails to include residences as sensitive receptors and unequivocally deny outdoor grows near homes.

Any property rights inconveniences Mr. Peschong and others levied on industrial pot farmers pale in comparison to the diminished rights of others in the neighborhood. If readers are curious what “property rights up to the property line” looks like with cannabis, look no farther than Santa Barbara County. Residents, vineyards and wineries are facing a regional catastrophe thanks to a couple of cannabis-enamored Supervisors placing virtually no constraints on cannabis producers.

Mr. Peschong, along with supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton, are the ones to make this right because supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson clearly will not.

Why else do residents and traditional agriculture need protections? Cannabis producers here will no doubt attempt to both increase the number of permits allowed in the county (currently at 141) and the size of each. In fact, this past June they scored a boost in their allowed acreage by whining that the initial three acre limit didn’t allow them enough “walkway space.” Three acres apparently didn’t mean three acres. Now they get 3.75 acres? What’s next?

This gets us to the heart of the situation, namely that cannabis cultivation is fundamentally and innately incompatible with homes and businesses in rural, agricultural areas. Napa County Supervisors came to this conclusion a few days ago, one even stating, “There is no place in the state of California where we can point to a county ordinance that works….”

Clearly, Napa County administrators evaluated, understood and took prudent action against the threats cannabis cultivation posed to residents, wine businesses and Napa’s overall brand.

Supervisor Peschong needs to understand that the impacts of this ordinance constitute a serious threat to his constituents, and the chorus is getting louder. District 1 will be watching how he votes and decides on cannabis projects, and any proactive actions he takes on cannabis issues between now and March 2020. We cannot understate that he must implement the following, immediately:

1.    Do not approve even one more pot farm next to homes or businesses.

2.    Immediately introduce a motion in the Board of Supervisors to implement a moratorium on the issuance of all cannabis/hemp permits. Follow Napa County’s lead because they got it right.

Any changes to the ordinance must only be addressed during this moratorium, and only with extensive public review, insight and input.

SLO Cannabis Watch Group is a non-partisan affiliation of concerned SLO county citizens who advocate for changes to SLO County Cannabis Ordinances to protect and preserve family-oriented neighborhoods from invasive, undesirable cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, processing, dispensary and transportation operations.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Peschong is the right-wing’s answer to Adam Hill, equally unprincipled and corrupt.

I am glad to see Mr. Peschong is a strong advocate for property rights. I know of several people who have planted marijuana on their acreage, but for a different purpose. You see they have pulled up the female plants and left only the males, scattered here and their near natural water sources. The pollen they produce travels for several miles on the prevailing winds. When this pollen reaches the commercial cannabis operations it pollenates the female plants and they then use their energy to produce seeds instead of the THC rich buds. This lowers the value of the crop and with any luck will make the operation so unprofitable as to cause the grower to fold their operation.

This is how you fight back. Exercise your property rights and plant a few male plants on your property. Thank you Supervisor Peschong for defending our property rights!

Good idea. Then the cannabis crowd will import insects that will decimate the grape crop.

I wouldn’t worry about the vineyards. They use herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and miticides to prevent damage. Haven’t heard of a “pollencide” but maybe the cannabis industry can develop one.

From a county to county perspective; the SLO Ordinances and Regulations are quite cumbersome, restrictive, and expensive to comply with.

The entry costs are so high they encourage the very carpetbagging corporate growers you lament. Small, “local”, growers cannot compete. More regulation as you prescribe will only exacerbate this market dynamic.

Each permit that is issued requires an extensive security plan, with video surveillance that is directly accessible by law enforcement 24/7. These products are tracked from cradle to grave. With each “lot” tested for purity and pesticides.

The Wine Industry does not require such things when running industrial processing facilities in the most remote and picturesque parts of our county.

Your concern over security seems misplaced.

As far as I know the county has yet to approve a “mixed use” Cannabis facility. One that grows and processes product, and then serves it to customers – “one doobie at a time”. Hmmm, sound familiar?

Toss in a Pizza Oven, and replace Cannabis with Micro-Winery and you are A Okay I guess.

slightly ironic here (chuckle, chuckle)…. transparency asked for by people posting under aliases? Sorry, just thought it was a bit humorous. :).

This is most definitely NOT a partisan issue, just as clean water, clean air are NOT partisan issues. But how quickly we want to push it toward the right or left. EVERYONE should have the right to clean air and clean water AND those living in an established neighborhood should be given the right to voice their concerns about cannibis grows next to them. AND the elected officials have an obligation, a DUTY to hear them out, not belittle them. And PLEASE, Peschong, voters need transparency from you. Who are your donors? The cannibis growers? and PLEASE, SLOCWG, your opinions are well stated, but we need transparency from you as well. Identify yourselves!

Thank you.


While I can appreciate your comment, don’t be tempted to frame this as a ‘left’ or ‘right’ issue; it is most certainly not. I have several friends who are fighting these grows next to them, and believe me, their political stances are all over the board…. left, right and center.


If Supervisor John Peschong cannot explain to his constituents why his stance supports the dope growers over the preexisting landowner/homeowners, then he is giving his opponent in the 2020 election a huge opening.

Does Supervisor John Peschong really want to do that?

Just wondering.

Peschong is the right-wing Adam Hill. Unprincipled pure corruption.

I have a question (or two); who is the head of SLOCWG? Is there a board? If so, who’s on it? Who wrote the past two opinion pieces? Who started SLOCWG? I have visited your web sight and can find no answers.