Grand Jury Blasts Santa Barbara Supervisors On Cannabis Ordinance

“The floodgates were opened”

A Grand Jury report released Monday blasted the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for its mismanagement of the county’s cannabis production, for dismissing public input, ignoring major environmental impacts, and allowing excessive production, among other criticisms.

“Instead of a balanced approach carefully evaluating how the cannabis industry would be compatible, both as to amount of acreage and location, the board simply opened the floodgates. These ordinances must be amended,” the report states.

Last year, at this time, cannabis farms in Santa Barbara County held 35 percent of all cultivation licenses issued in California last year, despite the county having only 1.8 percent of the state’s land.

An ad hoc committee was formed in 2017 to review and create regulations for adult use and cannabis cultivation in the county, with Supervisors Das Williams and Steve Lavagnino as the only two supervisors on the committee, so it was not subject to the Brown Act and therefore not open to the public.

The committee’s first objective was to “develop a robust and economically viable legal cannabis industry to ensure production and availability of high-quality cannabis products to help meet local demands, and, as a public benefit, improve the County’s tax base.” This objective, the report contends, was the wrong one to have.

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