US (CA): County files public nuisance lawsuit against Carpinteria cannabis grower

In a report to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors this week, County Counsel Michael Ghizzoni described several enforcement actions initiated by the county against cannabis operations — in the Carpinteria Valley and west of Buellton.

Speaking during budget hearings on Tuesday, Ghizzoni told the supervisors that, acting on eight odor complaints from Carpinteria residents, the county filed a lawsuit in Santa Barbara Superior Court on May 21 against Island View Ranch LLC and Island Breeze Farms LLC – the landowner and operator, respectively, of a 2-acre cannabis farm at 3376 Foothill Road.

The lawsuit alleges that the business has been a “continuing public nuisance” since at least March of 2019 and should be shut down. It is the county’s first public-nuisance lawsuit against a cannabis operation. Island Breeze, the lawsuit contends, “has not diligently pursued” a zoning permit for more than two years and is illegally growing and packaging commercial cannabis without proper county and state business licenses. Those licenses, it states, can be granted only if a grower is “in the process of complying with local ordinances.”

In another first for the county, Ghizzoni said, the lawsuit also invokes the state’s Unfair Competition Law against a cannabis grower, alleging that Island View and Island Breeze are profiting “to the detriment of lawful cannabis businesses operating in the county” by misleading the public and failing to comply with “regulatory safety measures.”

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