Opinion » Letters

The county needed to rein in unregulated pot grows


In response to the Dec. 7 opinion article "We are family farmers," may I point out several issues? Although I sympathize with their predicament and the many others in their position, the Kassirs did start their cannabis operation in a city and county with no directive ordinance.

Other cities and counties in the state had already fully or partially banned cannabis activities. SLO County, on the other hand, was in a political war with itself, wasn't paying attention to what was coming, and consequently was blindsided by a deluge of growers arriving from other counties and states seeking to reap the benefits of an unregulated county. Paso's ban should have been a red flag as to what was coming for the Kassirs.

Their move out to the Carrizo was paralleled by hundreds of others from all over the state and country. Sensitive habitat was destroyed, endangered and protected species were displaced or killed, the existing community in California Valley was completely disrupted, and the limited water basin was being abused. Hundreds of other growers spread throughout the county. In response, an urgency ordinance was enacted more than a year ago that made it pretty clear that any grows could be eliminated by a coming permanent ordinance. It was also clear that due to various conditions, residential suburban zoning would be off limits to those grows. This has now happened.

The Kassirs' pleas to the county are not falling on deaf ears, but the county is also responding to the pleas by the majority of other residents who are tired of having their communities overrun by outsiders with noisy generators, bright night lights, water trucks, and insufficient enforcement to regulate this new industry. If "locals" are getting swept up in these new restrictions, I sympathize.

But give it some time; the outsiders will move back to their origins, or on to other unregulated areas, and the "locals" won't have the unwanted competition and can continue their "farming" activities in legally zoned areas. As far as cannabis patients go: All of California can now grow, and there will be (and is) an abundance of medicine; just look at all the ads in the back pages of New Times, visit the many virtual dispensaries, or grow your own (up to six) plants—it's not that hard.

Patrick McGibney

Carrizo Plain

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