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Cannabis watchdog group sues Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A group called Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis filed a lawsuit in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Friday against the County of Santa Barbara and the Board of Supervisors.

The Coalition released a statement which detailed how the lawsuit is based on the County's recent decision to uphold the cannabis permit for Busy Bee Organics

The lawsuit alleges County officials created a cannabis ordinance and licensing program which has led to a massive proliferation of unpermitted cannabis grows throughout the County. The suit also attempts to stop the County from issuing more cannabis permits.

The Coalition also alleges the County's environmental review process is inadequate. One part of the statement released by the Coalition reads, the County had an affirmative duty to investigate and hold public hearings regarding any grower affidavits claiming that they were medical marijuana growers prior to January 16, 2016.  Approximately 200 of these affidavits were filed, none were investigated, and now they form the basis for many of the State-issued permits to grow cannabis within the County.

“This lawsuit is a last resort.  Industrial scale cannabis operations in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA threaten our future.  The Board has ignored these issues while violating several laws, so we have been  forced into this litigation in order to bring these operations in line with State law and prevent cannabis growers from destroying Santa Barbara’s communities, tourism and wine economy. Respect and moderation is all we are asking for,” said Debra Eagle, Coalition Board Member.

NewsChannel contacted Santa Barbara County officials for reaction to the lawsuit. We received this written response, The County has not been served with the litigation reported by the SB Coalition for Responsible Cannabis.  We will review it once received.  County Counsel reports that the County’s actions were well grounded.

Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis says it's not opposed to cannabis and encourages neighbor-friendly cannabis businesses.

Cannabis / Money and Business / Santa Barbara- S County / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

C.J. Ward

C.J. Ward is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and the station’s lead investigative reporter.

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