US (CA): County allows Fortuna based cannabis operation to continue operating after complaints

Numerous complaints from neighboring residents haven’t been enough to shut down a Fortuna cannabis farm.

The Humboldt County Planning Commission voted 4-2 on Thursday not to revoke or force the expiration of Pacific Cannabis Growers’ zoning clearance certificates for a mixed-light cannabis farm totaling 29,820 square feet after neighbors submitted complaints of light leaks and a strong odor coming from owner Josh Clark’s greenhouses. Instead, the Planning Department staff will work with Clark to address the complaints. Commissioners Brian Mitchell and Mike Newman were opposed.

“The main complaint is the smell,” Newman said. “And I can understand that.”

Several neighboring residents came to the meeting to air their complaints about the operation, citing the light emitted from the greenhouses at night, increased traffic that is impacting the roads and drawing the type of visitors that one resident said made his wife and daughter fearful, and creating an unpleasant odor.

“It is about the odor,” said John Guggenbickler, a neighbor to the cannabis farm. “You don’t get these (complaints) from me unless it’ll gag a maggot. I smell it every day. I have to close my windows at night to sleep.”

The problem is the county is transitioning from an earlier ordinance regulating commercial cannabis that it amended last year. As farms transition into compliance with the new ordinance, which has a language addressing odor, problems are arising, Newman said.


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