Santa Barbara County looking to change marijuana ordinances

Santa Barbara’s Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission held meetings early April to discuss imminent changes to the county’s marijuana ordinances. The anticipated regulation adjustments include a limit to marijuana cultivation on land zoned AG-1, the termination of the agricultural employee background check requirement, a stricter stance to deny permits based on applicant’s false statement and to disperse dispensaries in some areas of the county.

Planning commissioners discussed prohibiting cultivation stations smaller than 20 acres in zoned AG-1 and all sites in zones AG-1-5, AG-1-10 and AG-1-20 after being assigned by the board of supervisors to come up with a recommendation. At the April 3 public meeting, the planning commission also decided to seek different options for businesses to require a conditional-use permit instead of a land-use permit.

Business operators, attorneys and concerned residents living near cultivation plants were among the many attendees at the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission meetings. Locals voiced their frustration with disturbances coming from marijuana operation sites including strong odors, truck congestion in local neighborhoods and light pollution.

Marijuana executives and their lawyers argued that some companies invested millions of dollars to start a business and that changing regulations would be unfair. The contention brought up by weed operators did not sit well with supervisor Peter Adam who told Noozhawk that usually businesses are not allowed to operate in the county before receiving a permit.

The county is expected to decide by early May.


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