CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Some Carpinteria residents are so frustrated with the smell of cannabis in their homes and backyards, they have decided to sue nearby marijuana growers.
The class-action lawsuit was filed by a Santa Barbara attorney on Thursday morning. The complaint targets multiple growers. It urges them to seal their greenhouses and use "carbon-based filtration methods." Plaintiffs complain that the vapor-phase systems currently used to mitigate the odor are irritating to eyes and make allergies and asthma worse.
“We’ve been breathing this brew of chemicals for the last two and a half years,” said Greg Gandrud, one of the plaintiffs. “Burning eyes, a lot of respiratory issues. My spouse has asthma that’s been made much, much worse. Sore throats, headaches, coughing. I have difficulty breathing, sometimes.”
Gandrud says he and his neighbors attended several community meetings and that the City of Carpinteria was "helpful," but the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is not doing enough to remedy the issue. Gandrud also criticized the Board for implementing lenient cannabis policies after recreational marijuana was legalized in California. First District Supervisor Das Williams's office has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The complaint states that it is not about money, and the residents would likely dismiss or settle the action if the greenhouses change their filtration system and the odor improves.
“We want the growers to be responsible about being good neighbors to the residents of Carpinteria,” attorney Robert Curtis said. “They haven’t been, to date.”
Some of the plaintiffs have windows and backyards less than 100 feet from cannabis greenhouses, which used to grow flowers before California legalized recreational cannabis in 2016.
Gandrud says his house has been on the market over the past two years, but the cannabis smell scares away prospective buyers.
"Everybody who comes asks about cannabis," Greg Gandrud said. "Especially when they’re standing in my backyard and they can see those greenhouses, which are just 70 feet from my bedroom window… and people are very concerned. Because they’ve heard that we’ve had some issues. And I’ve had zero offers on my house. And I think the cannabis is actually causing our property values to go down."
A representative for Carpinteria growers says the defendants have not been served yet as of late Thursday night, and do not have a response at this time.