CARP Growers, Coalition for Responsible Cannabis agree to enhanced rules
The Coalition for Responsible Cannabis and CARP Growers reached a landmark agreement this month that will enhance odor control requirements for cannabis cultivators in the Carpinteria Valley.
The new agreement, which was forged over the last 11 months, establishes supplemental odor control requirements for all CARP Growers that expand beyond what Santa Barbara County’s current ordinance outlines.
Under the agreement, CARP Growers have agreed to utilize the most advanced technology for odor abatement and ensure that odor does not seep into school zones, parks or other public areas. This new enforcement goes a step beyond the county’s enforcement — which only extends to residential zones — and allows the coalition to enforce more advanced odor abatement strategies when odor extends into public spaces.
“In partnership with CARP Growers, the Coalition developed a comprehensive voluntary upgrade to the County’s odor control program,” Coalition Board Member Rob Salomon said in a statement. “All CARP Growers members will comply with that program, and unlike today, odor will not be tolerated in schools, parks and public areas. We credit CARP Growers and its member farms for coming to the table with sincere dedication and a shared interest to make local cannabis farming better.”
The agreement also requires that as odor abatement technology advances, CARP Growers upgrade to the “very best control technology that’s available,” coalition attorney Marc Chytilo told the News-Press.
For growers in Carpinteria, that could mean a switch to carbon scrubber technology that is under development in Europe. The new technology is designed to mitigate odors in venting greenhouses.
The carbon scrubbers would be an upgrade to the vapor phase technology that many cannabis cultivators currently use to neutralize odors in other parts of the county. The vapor phase works by omitting fragrance to neutralize the smell of cannabis.
While the county’s current cannabis ordinance designates vapor neutralization measures as a Best Available Control Technique for mitigating odors, the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis and CARP Growers will require more advanced technology for odor abatement on the South Coast. Under the county’s ordinance, projects that require a conditional use permit in Agricultural II zones require the use of some kind of odor abatement plan using BACT.
Mr. Chytilo said once the scrubber equipment is manufactured and sent to Carpintiera, the CARP Growers will begin testing the odor abatement technology to ensure it works in large scale greenhouses.
“We’re expecting by the end of this year we should have comprehensive testing that demonstrates this is the technology that’s going to work,” Mr. Chytilo said.
With this new agreement applying only to CARP Growers members, enforcement of the terms of the contract will be handled through a four-tiered response process created by the coalition. Each level of the response increases intensity depending on the severity of the odor episode.
According to the terms of the agreement, if odor problems cannot be resolved by existing technology, “growers must install improved technology and odor control actions until the problem is solved.”
With several cannabis appeals going before the Board of Supervisors this year, officials are hopeful the new agreement could stand as an example for other cannabis growers in the county for resolving odor disputes and working alongside community members.
Supervisor Das Williams, who resides in Carpinteria, told the News-Press that the new technology for odor abatement has “great potential” to set an example for other cannabis growers moving forward, though there remains work to be done.
“Most people I have spoken to are pleased that significant progress has already been made on odor, but most also want it to continue to improve,” Mr. Williams told the News-Press. “That is why the county has supported this effort with staff time, and I hope that continued cooperation between the farmers and neighbors can make sure we concentrate on practical solutions instead of being stuck in conflict.”
The new agreement and the promise of odor enforcement also comes as a relief to many residents of Carpinteria who have voiced complaints over the smell of harvested cannabis in recent years.
“From the perspective of someone who lives in Carp, it’s a relief and a subject of great joy to see some people on both sides of the debate getting together and trying to come up with practical solutions instead of remaining embroiled in conflict,” Mr. Williams said.