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Marijuana is not the same as grapes

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The article "Community division, accusations imperil York Mountain medical marijuana project" (March 7) missed several important points about the appeal hearing and why the community opposes this project:

1. The vast majority of those who spoke in favor of the project were growers or other business owners who will benefit financially from the expansion of the cannabis industry. No neighbors other than the family of the property owners are in support. This project negatively impacts the character of our rural residential neighborhood.

2. The permit application submitted by Kirk Consulting for McAllister/Gardner was more misleading than any alleged Google Earth photo manipulation. The permit greatly exaggerated previous agricultural activity on the property in order to avoid CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review or an EIR (environmental impact report). This project is in no way a continuation of agriculture that has been on this property either in size, water use, land disturbance, or building requirements.

3. The SLO County cannabis ordinance recognizes that cannabis is different from other crops (such as tomatoes and grapes) and "require[s] land use controls due to the unique federal and state constraints."

Maybe there would not be the same outcry if the greenhouses were for tomatoes and the outdoor crop was grapes, as stated by 2nd District Supervisor Bruce Gibson, because neither of these crops becomes a controlled substance as soon as it is ready to harvest. The county also has no data on water or energy use for growing marijuana compared to tomatoes and grapes.

Mary Anne Snyder



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