The first round in the “Weed vs. Wine” battle Jan. 29 ended without smelling like a rose before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
After hearing nasty public remarks all afternoon, the board basically told county staff to come back with more information, which could take months.
However, the bruhahha did not just pit grapes and pot against each other. Many cannabis opponents who voiced their opinions were elderly residents of the Carpinteria Valley where they say pot growing has really raised a stink. Some Carpinteria residents worn clothes pins to protest the odor, which has been a sore point for months.
Cannabis backers tried in vain to convince their foes that their product in it various forms has many medical and theraputic benefits, which California voters made legal for recreational use several years ago.
But opponents said the odor gave them asthma, headaches and emotional stress.
Carpinteria-area residents were joined by wine grape growers in telling the supervisors that cannabis odors are “toxic,” harmful to children and would ruin the wine-tasting experience.
Pro-cannabis attendees at the meeting said they hoped something can be worked out so that growers can co-exist and odors can be contained.
“How dare you,” one woman scolded the supervisors for allowing cannabis to be grown in Santa Barbara County while Ventura and other municipalities have banned it.
She claimed only cannabis growers profit from the sale of their product, even though it raises needed tax revenue. She also claimed cannabis growers put money into the supervisors’ election campaign coffers.
A man who said he wants to build a multi-million-dollar winery in Santa Ynez said he is waiting for the county to amend its land-use policy on cannabis.
“You will kill business if you can smell cannabis,” he said loudly.
Public comments grew testy as five sheriff’s deputies showed up in or near the hearing room where usually only one stands guard.
At one point, a contractor told the supervisors how cannabis growing was bad for business around Carpinteria. Supervisor Das Williams, snapped, “You stole water from the Carpinteria Valley.”
The contractor snapped back, “You’re a sell-out.”
Before leaving the four-hour hearing early, Supervisor Peter Adam said he’s no fan of pot, but he respects the will of state voters who approved the marijuana referendum.
Adam also said, “Anyone who thinks we’re going to get through all this today is delusional. No new hearing date has been set.