Don’t let unscrupulous cannabis growers hijack SLO County

January 14, 2020


An open letter to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors:

The unscrupulous cannabis hijack of the Board of Supervisor’s Dec. 17 public comment period served only to 1) avoid conforming cannabis operations with county land use codes and 2) continue disregarding the safety and impact to residential agriculture neighborhoods, homes and traditional agriculture in our county.

This scam constituted a serious abuse of the public comment period and exploited innocent farm workers and their loss of 30 jobs all in the name of their employers’ tax-free profit motives. Every business in SLO County must adhere to these laws or not do business in the county – why should cannabis grows get more time and special treatment after three years of successive extensions by the county?

Regardless, I still support the Planning Department’s proposed abeyance extension (in the Addendum to Item #41 for the Jan. 14 Board of Supervisor meeting), though with conditions.

I would remind the board of Supervisors that while this may potentially remove some bad actors, it is of minimal consolation as the county’s current Phase 2 regulations still permit pot growers to operate stench-ridden, crime-attracting enterprises next to traditional agriculture operations, rural residences, retirees, families, children, and even next to perimeter residences in our incorporated cities.

Passing the abeyance extension, in other words, still continues to allow pot farms to operate in places where they should never have been allowed to operate in the first place, a horror this Board of Supervisors imposed on our county and for which we want immediate change.

I strongly urge this board to immediately take the following actions:

1. Pass the Planning Department’s proposed abeyance extension. Include a provision that the so-called ‘good actors’ will be subject to Phase 3 ordinance changes (NOT the current Phase 2 allowances).

2. Prioritize the Phase 3 ordinance changes be adopted in an early-February BOS meeting.

3. Ensure no more permits are issued according to Phase 2 requirements
Based on real public input, include the following rules in Phase 3, even if it means so-called ‘good actors’ must discontinue operations in some instances).

4. Eliminate industrial cannabis manufacturing on agricultural zoned land.

5. Include residential dwelling units in the “sensitive receptor” definition and site restrictions.

6. Keep the cultivation of cannabis indoors, and limited to sealed ventilation, so that no odors can be detected outside the structure.

7. Require compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act by ending undue exemptions to cannabis projects.

8. Implement strict density limitations for the number of cannabis cultivation sites that may be near each other.

Please act wisely and not in the interests of cannabis cultivators whose ambitions and priorities are themselves and not the public.

Both the conformant and non-conformant cannabis operations of today have proven to be a public nuisance, danger and serious economic risk to residents and businesses in our beautiful county.

Our county deserves so much better.

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5. Include residential dwelling units in the “sensitive receptor” definition and site restrictions.

So the author wants to ban personal medical home grows even if the grower has more than enough carbon filtration to remove all odors. The author wants to push medical users who grow their own and who can’t afford dispensary prices to go back to taking state paid opiates for their disability or illness? I know many people who have used cannabis to get off of opiates successfully. The authors solution is to ignore the medical benefits and take away medical users right to grow all because “it might smell unpleasant to neighbors”. The smell issue is possible but not probable as most home growers don’t want neighbors to know they are growing and do everything they can to remove any smell that could leave the grow space as they don’t want the rest of their house to smell like a grow either. There are already laws regarding odor of home grows so if there is an odor issue have the cops enforce those laws that are already on the books. No need to remove the rights of medical patients or recreational users who do everything in their power to follow the laws and be good neighbors.

I understand the county went to inspect the grow of one of these “small businessmen” and found over $600K in a sack next to an assault rifle. When asked about the money the guy’s attorney advised him to keep quiet.

I doubt this scenario would occur if R. J. Reynolds and Pfizer were controlling the market.

Your recipe doesn’t prevent cannabis from being cultivated and processed here, it merely ensures “big tobacco “ or similar interests will control the industry locally.

The law was intended to spur “cottage” suppliers not industrial. Micro-management by state and local authorities give us a more expensive system thereby squeezing out the little guy. Your suggestions makes it worse.

The Supe’s get paid anyway you slice it. Do you want larger or smaller interests in control of it here on the central coast?

That is the real question we should ask ourselves with Cannabis… or Water.

And who is the author? What does he do?