Wednesday, February 8, 2023     Volume: 23, Issue: 49

Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on October 14th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 26 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 26

Sonoma's cannabis cap created compatibility

By Sharyne Merritt, Buellton

So why is cannabis cultivation compatible with wine in Sonoma County but not in Santa Barbara County?

The cover story of last week’s Sun (“Struggling to get along,” Aug. 22) about conflicts in Santa Barbara County between cannabis and other crops points out that in Sonoma County, the two industries are compatible. What’s the difference?

Well, Sonoma County allows only 1 acre of cannabis cultivation per parcel; Santa Barbara County has no caps resulting in applications for grows that dwarf the Sonoma industry such as Busy Bee (23 acres, about 17 football fields), Santa Barbara West Coast (50 acres, 38 football fields), Santa Rita Valley Ag (37 acres, 28 football fields), Organic Green (40 acres, 31 football fields), and Terra Tambor (147 acres, 113 football fields).  

All of these are west of Buellton on Highway 246, the Santa Rita Hills wine area, world renowned for fine pinot noir and chardonnay.

It’s easy in Sonoma for wine to be compatible with a cannabis industry in which all growers are limited to 1 acre per parcel. Far more difficult in Santa Barbara County to be compatible with grows that are so large that odors do not dissipate, spraying for mildew can’t be done on grapes because giant cannabis farms are close by, and the view is of acres and acres of white plastic.

Lesson from Sonoma: If you want wine and cannabis to be compatible, cap the number of acres of cannabis per parcel at 1 acre. That way Santa Barbara can be like Sonoma, and everyone will be happy.

Sharyne Merritt

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