The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban cannabis cultivation for parcels of 20 acres and less that are in areas zoned agricultural-1.
Agricultural-1 refers to a hybrid zone that’s both urban and agricultural, as compared to agricultural-2, which is more typical agricultural use.
The board’s decision pleased individuals who are worried about cannabis farms being close to schools, and about the odor emitted by cannabis farms.
But the decision was not enough for some. One of about 70 people who spoke during public comment at Tuesday’s meeting suggested looking into curbing cultivation in agricultural-2 zoning districts.
But not all folks who spoke Tuesday were opposed to cannabis farming. There was a clear divide: residents who felt their livelihood was negatively affected by cannabis farming and local business owners whose livelihood depends on cannabis farming.
The cannabis farming-proponents pointed to the employment and revenues that the cultivation brings to the county. Younger than their counterparts, the cannabis proponents spoke about how growing the product provides a way to support themselves and their families.
California nonprofit CARP Growers issued an announcement Tuesday evening defending cannabis farming.
“Volatile Organic Compounds have been a topic of concern for those advocating for banning cannabis cultivation in Santa Barbara County,” the announcement says. “Biogenic VOCs are in any plants with odors. Agriculturally, lemon trees emit far greater volumes of VOCs than cannabis.”
The cannabis cultivation-opponents, however, said cannabis farming and its smell will repel tourists and affect property taxes.
Toward the end of the board meeting, a power outage caused a problem with the agenda. Other issues, along with addressing the odor issue, were delayed to next week’s meeting in Santa Barbara.