The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission is about to hear its first appeal for a cannabis cultivation permit and it’s for a property in the Carpinteria Valley, where residents have raised odor-related complaints for years.
Marijuana has been grown in the valley for several years and, in many cases, was being sold to medical dispensaries. Operators are now going through the dual permitting process for the county and state to bring them into compliance for the adult-use commercial market.
Operators are proactive in the Carpinteria area, organizing as the CARP Growers, helping develop local regulations, and wanting to be known as the good guys following the rules who want “bad actors” shut down.
The 20-or-so members of CARP Growers operate more than 30 acres of cannabis cultivation greenhouses and employ about 600 people.
Its president, Graham Farrar, says Santa Barbara County has the perfect climate for cannabis, with its weather and existing agricultural labor force and infrastructure.
He described a rigorous review process, including inspections and requirements to reduce energy use on the sites while adding lighting, security and odor control.
“There’s nothing like cannabis to give you anxiety,” he laughed. “The rules change on a regular basis.”