Keeping everyone happy since the legalization of marijuana in California is proving to be a juggling act for Santa Barbara city and county lawmakers.
They have to walk a fine line between caring for the concerns of residents and the needs of pot delivery industry players who are chafing at the bit to enter this new green rush era.
Light at the end of the tunnel
But there now appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel after yearlong meetings by city and county lawmakers who have had to listen to proposals, get involved with negotiations, and finally draft regulations that will govern the pot industry’s supply chain. These include growers, retailers, testing laboratories and distribution outlets.
Santa Barbara These trying times will be well worth the effort in the end because the marijuana industry is like the golden goose at the end of the rainbow. It will deliver its golden eggs in the form of millions of dollars in taxes on sales of the weed that will be used to help cities and counties meet the needs of their communities, like housing developments and improved policing.
Green rush concessions
The Santa Barbara City Council has given the nod for the opening of three retail weed shops. However, in a move to safeguard the children of the city, the Council has ruled that the retail outlets cannot be situated closer than 600 feet from a school or youth center. A further stipulation is that the weed shops must employ on-site security guards.
A further ruling is that manufacturing laboratories are confined to an apron of properties on the east side of Santa Barbara.
The City Council has also placed a blanket ban on the establishment of pot lounges. This could represent a major blow to industry players wanting to open lounges at clubs and other recreational facilities. However, the ban is not unexpected as it is already illegal to smoke weed in any Santa Barbara public place, just as it remains illegal to smoke cigarettes in the open.
Santa Barbara weed farming leads the way
From the outset, the Santa Barbara County has led the legalized marijuana growers’ army by granting cultivators more temporary licenses than any other county in California. By early February 2018, 175 temporary licenses had been issued to marijuana farmers. This will augment the county’s well-established farming industry, which is the major source of income for the area.
This move could ring in the changes for many existing traditional farmers to switch to marijuana cultivation – a move already taking place in Carpinteria where the green rush is hoped will replace the struggling cut-flower industry. Last year there were no less than 28 public hearings at which residents of Carpinteria complained about the odor emanating from cut-flower farms. This spurred the decision by county supervisors to impose a restriction on outdoor cultivation of 1,500 feet from schools and residential areas. County supervisors also banned any cannabis businesses from operating within 750 feet of a school. They did, however, vote to allow eight retail outlets to operate in the unincorporated areas.