It’s been nearly four years since the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors rolled out the red carpet for the cannabis greenhouse industry in the Carpinteria Valley. Still, the community is plagued with the “skunky” smell of pot. It greets people when they open their front doors, closet doors, car doors, and washing machines. It wakes them up at night. It lingers at schools, beaches, and freeway exits. Many say the pungent smell has caused them to suffer headaches, sore throats, nausea, and respiratory problems.
In recent years, as most of the valley’s cut-flower greenhouses converted to pot, mostly without zoning permits, two citizens’ groups — Concerned Carpinterians and the Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis — have pressed the County Board of Supervisors to rein in the cannabis industry, without much success. Last year, Concerned Carpinterians launched a campaign to unseat Supervisor Das Williams, whose district includes the valley; he won reelection handily.
Now, in a bow to political realities, the coalition, a nonprofit group with 200 members countywide, has changed tack. On August 20, the group signed an odor-control agreement with its former adversary, the Cannabis Association for Responsible Producers, or CARP Growers, representing the owners of 21 greenhouse properties.
“As a result of our extended negotiations, I’ve come to believe that the growers really want to do the right thing,” said Rob Salomon, a coalition board member. “They don’t want to be associated with an industry that has stunk up the Carpinteria Valley and made them a pariah in the community.
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