After a couple hundred public comments for and against cannabis during a 10-hour meeting, the county board of supervisors July 9 boosted restrictions on small plots of farm land, but must come back with more discussion on further changes to the laws they approved almost two years ago.
However, even after that marathon in Santa Maria was cut short by a power outage, supervisors still must meet again July 16 to try to solve more cannabis problems related to controlling marijuana odors and where and how big pot farms should be.
Pot proponents continue to maintain that their already heavily restricted industry creates many new jobs and greatly boosts county tax coffers. But opponents won’t back down from how the stink from legal marijuana farms hurts their businesses and personal health.
On top of all this, the county continues to crack down on illegal pot operations and those that have uncertified permits. More than three dozen warrants have been served on almost two dozen sites where more than a million pot plants were confiscated throughout the county.
Even with that enforcement, it is well known that many illegal operations in the Los Padres National Forest have for many years made marijuana the county’s biggest de facto cash crop.
Since the 2016 voter-approved legalization or recreational marijuana, Santa Barbara County officials have tried to accommodate the new industry and that has made the region what some call a cannabis mecca.