US (CA): Board of Supervisors needs supervision on cannabis issues

In 2019, the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury convened an investigation into the influence used by cannabis industry lobbyists to manipulate cannabis ordinances within the county.  It would be more accurate to call the use of such influence abuse.

Because the Grand Jury’s findings, after a lengthy investigation involving approximately 50 interviews and a comprehensive review that scrutinized Board of Supervisor and County Planning Commission meetings, were not pretty. Truth be told, these findings were just plain ugly.

Finding 1 stated that the Board of Supervisors “inadequately” considered the impact of cannabis production on the health and welfare of residents. Findings 2 and 3 revealed a lack of transparency in the way such ordinances were created. For instance, residents were not allowed access to closed-door sessions yet the Board of Supervisors were “granted nearly unfettered access to cannabis growers and industry lobbyists undisclosed to the public during the creation of the cannabis ordinances.”

Findings 4 and 5 affirmed that certain segments of traditional agriculture in Santa Barbara County are in conflict with cannabis production due to “excessive” production by the latter. Finding 11: “There has not been effective odor control at the boundary of cannabis cultivation and related activities, resulting in significant public outcry about odor, quality of life and health concerns.”


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