Cities and residents that have long complained about Santa Barbara County’s permissive cannabis rules got a boost from a Grand Jury report released last week. The report is scathing in its criticism of the county’s cultivation program.
“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 says.
Improving the county’s tax base, not what was best for residents, “became the guiding principle for the board” after it decided to regulate cannabis cultivation. The City of Carpinteria suffered disproportionately from odors and other issues, according to the Grand Jury.
The Grand Jury also criticized the county for a lack of transparency. It described contacts between cannabis lobbyists, growers, and the Board as “unnerving” and said some of these conversations should have never occurred.
The Jury issued a series of recommendations going forward. These include new objectives for environmental impact reports; opening all ad hoc committees to the public, subject to the Brown Act; new campaign contribution disclosure requirements; including the treasurer-tax collector in any future tax-related ordinances; and an independent ethics oversight commission.
Read more at the Santa Barbara Independent.