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"Some eligible growers could drop out"

US (CA): Santa Barbara votes to tighten cannabis cultivation regulation

Two years after rejecting the idea, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors last week voted 3-2 to tighten its regulation of outdoor cannabis cultivation on large farming properties, primarily in the North County.

On May 24, board Chair Joan Hartmann and supervisors Bob Nelson and Das Williams voted on the concept to require conditional use permits for all future outdoor “grows,” beginning four months from now. Supervisors Gregg Hart and Steve Lavagnino opposed the measure, as they did when it first came to the board in mid-2020. It returns to the board for a final vote on August 16.

Crucially, the stricter permits would not apply to coastal areas, including cannabis greenhouse operations in the Carpinteria Valley, one of the largest pot-producing regions in California. And they come after the county has already approved 1,855 acres of outdoor cannabis in unincorporated areas, largely under land use permits which are more permissive than conditional use permits. 

That’s well beyond the cap of 1,575 acres that the board has set on outdoor cultivation — but some growers now eligible for the cap could drop out. Others on the waiting list could take their place, but under the proposed new rules, they would have to get conditional use permits. Future boards could decide to raise the cap.

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