Santa Barbara Supervisors Support New Restrictions on Cannabis Grows

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has voted to require conditional use permits for outdoor marijuana grows, aligning with recommendations from the county’s Civil Grand Jury which the board rejected two years ago. The vote was 3-2 with Supervisors Gregg Hart and Steve Lavagnino opposed.

Currently, most pot cultivators in Santa Barbara require only a land use permit to start their operations. The lax regulations have led to an explosion of cannabis farms in the county. Cities, residents and businesses owners have complained about odors, declining property values, threats to other forms of agriculture, and an overall decrease in quality of life.

With the new conditional use permits, grows can be prohibited from exceeding a certain size. Public hearings must be held before the permits are granted and growers must demonstrate that their operations are “compatible with surrounding uses” and “not detrimental to neighborhood comfort, convenience, general welfare, health and safety.” The board could also require more space between grows and homes or vineyards. However, the new regulations won’t apply to the coastal areas including the Carpinteria Valley. 

“We could say we have enough cannabis in the Santa Ynez Valley and any more is a problem,” said Board Chair Joan Hartmann.

Marc Chytilo, an attorney who represents Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis, called the board’s vote “late in the game but still vitally important.”

The item will come back before the board in August. 

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