Three Carpinteria residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against four cannabis growers, alleging the marijuana operators have “decimated the tranquil nature” of Carpinteria and destroyed their lives.
The lawsuit was filed in Santa Barbara Superior Court Feb. 27 by Carpinteria residents Gregory Gandrud, Marllus Grandrug and Paul Ekstrom, along with the Santa Barbara County Coalition for Responsible Cannabis. Listed as defendants in the lawsuit are cannabis growers Ever-Bloom, Ednigma, Melodious Plots and Saga Farms.
The complaint incorporates residents who live within 4,500 feet of certain cannabis growing operations. While the lawsuit does not seek specific monetary damages, it is based on complaints that the cannabis operators have violated laws on private nuisance, public nuisance, violations of business and professions code and trespass, according to Robert A. Curtis, attorney with Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis, who is representing the plaintiffs.
“This is what happens when government fails to do its job and protect its citizens,” Mr. Curtis said in a statement. “The Santa Barbara County government has allowed cannabis growers to come into the county and run wild, thereby destroying the quality of life that these residents of the Central Coast have enjoyed for years. They can’t sleep. They can’t walk outside. They can’t entertain certain friends. This is devastating.”
The complaint states that the plaintiffs are not “anti-cannabis,” and they recognize the use of cannabis may benefit certain medical conditions and result tax generation for the local and state economies.
“However, when commercial cannabis operations are placed less than a mile from densely populated areas including schools and parks, and when cannabis is grown in aging greenhouses that vent directly to the outside air – unfortunately, major problems arise,” the complaint states. “The main goal of this lawsuit is not money. These residents simply want relief from the awful smells and noxious odors and chemicals that they are being assaulted with on a daily basis in their homes.”
The plaintiffs allege that if the defendants would “seal their greenhouses and use carbon-based filtration methods to ensure that no odors or chemicals from the vapor-phase systems extend past the Defendants’ property line, then the Plaintiffs would likely be satisfied and dismiss/settle this action,” the complaint reads.
“But to date, Defendants’ cannabis operations have shown little concern for the citizens of Carpinteria. Instead they have focused on lining their pockets with unimaginable profits from this modern-day cash crop.”
The Gandruds allege their bedroom window is within 100 feet from at least one of the defendants’ cannabis operation, which has “severely affected the enjoyment of the Gandruds’ property and has negatively impacted their health,” the complaint reads.
The complaint further alleges the Gandruds have been trying to sell their home but have not received a single offer, and several potential buyers “have expressed disinterest due directly to the proximity to Defendants’ cannabis operations and the noxious odors.”
Mr. Ekstrom, a retired firefighter, also lives within 100 feet from the defendants’ cannabis operation and claims the neighborhood surrounding his property “routinely smells of a strong skunky odor” from the cannabis operations.
“Mr. Ekstrom no longer can leave any windows open and instead was forced to have an air conditioning unit installed to cool his home in the summer,” the complaint reads. “Mr. Ekstrom has often publicly complained to the City of Carpinteria and the County Board of Supervisors to no avail.”
Representatives from the defendants could not be reached as of press time.