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 packages” for UCSB college students. This new group — which boasts a sophisticated web site, freesb.org — was began by Tom Metal, a current UCSB graduate and campus activist, who said 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 might be exploring proposed amendments to the county’s more and more controversial cannabis ordinance.
So far, the county is on observe 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 yr, mentioned she doubts supervisors might legally grant Free S.B.’s calls for even when they needed to. “I don’t consider we might take cash from our normal fund and provides it to increased schooling,” Hartmann mentioned. “I think the group is completely supported by the cannabis trade,” and if that’s the case, she continued, it might be “a cynical ploy” on their half. “I feel that is … a option to get at me,” Hartmann mentioned, “and that makes me actually offended.”
In current months, Hartmann has expressed elevated curiosity in extra laws to limit the place and the way cannabis could 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. Group Companies District in addition to the Santa Barbara Metropolis Faculty Board of Trustees — had been approached by a lobbyist, Sam Rodriguez, who’s affiliated with the cannabis trade. Abboud mentioned Rodriguez was in search of somebody to run in opposition to Hartmann and requested if he has aspirations for increased workplace. (Rodriguez denied ever speaking to Abboud or realizing anybody by that title.)
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 software 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 shaped a brand new commerce group — Good Farmers Nice Neighbors — to teach the general public about the advantages of their trade and to argue in opposition to the imposition of such new restrictions. The group “opposes making a precedent of banning any authorized crop on any dimension agriculture property in Santa Barbara County,” mentioned spokesperson Andrew Rice, a former reporter for the Santa Barbara Unbiased. “We consider that the present ordinance supplies ample oversight and pointers for authorized cannabis cultivation to coexist with different land makes use of.”
Looming not so subtly within the background is the upcoming legalization of hemp cultivation at each the state and county ranges, the federal authorities having simply legalized it. Hemp, which has most of the identical odor traits as cannabis, just isn’t as wealthy in psychoactive properties as cannabis however comprises sufficient of the medicinal substances to be economically engaging. As a federally acknowledged agricultural crop, it’s not topic to the identical land-use laws as cannabis.