As Santa Barbara’s cannabis wars threaten to get much more cantankerous, a brand new campus group calling itself Free S.B. has begun demanding that the county’s cannabis revenues be used to fund “school affordability applications” for UCSB college students. This new group — which boasts a elegant web site, freesb.org — was began by Tom Metal, a latest UCSB graduate and campus activist, who acknowledged he was moved to motion by the meals insecurity he skilled whereas an undergraduate. Metal, who didn’t return quite a few requests for interviews by deadline, is hoping to spice up scholar attendance on the County Board of Supervisors assembly on July 9 in Santa Maria, when supervisors shall be exploring proposed amendments to the county’s more and more controversial cannabis ordinance.
So far, the county is on monitor to reap $6 million in cannabis tax revenues. Of that, $2.7 million has been earmarked for enforcement functions. Free S.B.’s statements allude to $25 million in cannabis taxes.
Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann, whose district consists of Isla Vista and who’s up for reelection subsequent 12 months, mentioned she doubts supervisors may legally grant Free S.B.’s calls for even when they needed to. “I don’t imagine we may take cash from our basic fund and provides it to greater schooling,” Hartmann mentioned. “I believe the group is fully supported by the cannabis trade,” and in that case, she continued, it might be “a cynical ploy” on their half. “I believe that is … a solution to get at me,” Hartmann mentioned, “and that makes me actually indignant.”
In latest months, Hartmann has expressed elevated curiosity in further rules to limit the place and the way cannabis might be grown in response to quite a few concern by some residents upset about odor and the proliferation of hoop homes. Hartmann’s camp famous that one other Isla Vista political determine, Jonathan Abboud — elected to the I.V. Neighborhood Providers District in addition to the Santa Barbara Metropolis School Board of Trustees — had been approached by a lobbyist, Sam Rodriguez, who’s affiliated with the cannabis trade. Abboud mentioned Rodriguez was searching for somebody to run towards Hartmann and requested if he has aspirations for greater workplace. (Rodriguez denied ever speaking to Abboud or figuring out anybody by that identify.)
One of many proposed modifications to the county’s ordinance seeks to determine a cap on the quantity of cannabis that may be cultivated. One other would require the set up of a working odor-control system earlier within the allow utility course of. Additionally, the county’s Planning Fee helps requiring conditional use permits for smaller parcels of agriculturally zoned land, 20 acres or much less. Extra explosive are calls for that cannabis be banned outright from such small parcels that usually abut residential communities.
Growers have fashioned a brand new commerce group — Good Farmers Nice Neighbors — to teach the general public about the advantages of their trade and to argue towards the imposition of such new restrictions. The group “opposes making a precedent of banning any authorized crop on any measurement agriculture property in Santa Barbara County,” mentioned spokesperson Andrew Rice, a former reporter for the Santa Barbara Impartial. “We imagine that the present ordinance gives ample oversight and tips for authorized cannabis cultivation to coexist with different land makes use of.”
Looming not so subtly within the background is the approaching legalization of hemp cultivation at each the state and county ranges, the federal authorities having simply legalized it. Hemp, which has lots of the similar odor traits as cannabis, is just not as wealthy in psychoactive properties as cannabis however comprises sufficient of the medicinal elements to be economically engaging. As a federally acknowledged agricultural crop, it isn’t topic to the identical land-use rules as cannabis.