The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission unanimously voted Nov. 7 to turn down an appeal aimed at denying a farm land-use permit for Busy Bee Organics, a legal marijuana farm in Buellton.
The appeal hearing started Oct. 30, but the commission continued it after a five-hour marathon. Sharyne Merritt, a Carpinteria avocado grower and member of the Agricultural Advisory Commission, appealed Busy Bee Organics’ permit.
Cannabis farmers Sara Rotman and her husband Nate Diaz have operated Busy Bee Organics since 2015.
Some of their 30 fellow farmers, neighbors and industry professionals joined the couple at the commission hearings in support of their agricultural practices and work with nearby residents.
“I’ve known Sara and Nate since they came here in 2014,” said Ray Amby, a conventional farmer and a neighbor to Busy Bee Organics, said in a press release. “We’ve been farming next to one another, our crops not more than feet apart, for five years with zero conflicts.”
County supervisors reduced the farm permit’s acreage and buffer zones between the cultivation and nearby parcels.
After the Thursday hearing, Rotman said, “I’m deeply touched by the overwhelming support of the community at large, with so many fellow farmers, neighbors, friends, women business leaders, and local public officials who took the time to affirm the work that my husband and I invested into developing an exceptional organic cannabis farmland.”
Rotman is CEO of Busy Bee Organics and co-chair of Good Farmers Great Neighbors, a collective of Santa Barbara County cannabis industry leaders who believe that marijuana farming is good for county jobs and the local economy.
Posted Nov. 8, 2019.