The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury issued its 2019-2020 Final Report on June 30, 2020. The final part of this Report is dedicated to the County’s actions regarding the hashish trade. This final part of the Report is a scathing indictment of the style wherein greed for cash and energy influenced the governance of Santa Barbara County in its adoption of ordinances regarding hashish.
The following is introductory abstract of the Report.
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“The action taken by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to certify the development of a robust cannabis industry as the primary objective of the cannabis ordinances has altered the quality of life in Santa Barbara County, perhaps forever.
“The fulfillment of that objective dictated the actions taken by the Board from the excessive allowance of licenses and acreage, creation of an unverified affidavit system, ignoring widespread odor complaints, not acknowledging the conflict between cannabis cultivation and traditional agriculture, to rejecting the environmentally superior alternatives of limited cannabis development.
“Instead of a balanced approach carefully evaluating how the cannabis industry would be compatible, both as to amount of acreage and location, the Board simply opened the floodgates. These ordinances must be amended.”
This is the report of a civil grand jury. It is obvious, nonetheless, that a few of issues mentioned on this 26-page Report might effectively be the subject material of a prison grand jury investigation if these similar issues have been seen a bit otherwise. In truth, a few of the issues described on this Report might be into consideration by a prison grand jury.
We should not writing about this Report as a result of we’ve got any explicit curiosity in Santa Barbara County, or as a result of a few of the actions described within the Report could also be prison. We are writing about this Report as a result of this Report must be necessary studying for each member of each Board of Supervisors, City Council, Planning Commission and Administrative Office that’s concerned within the issues of that member’s ruled neighborhood regarding the involvement of the neighborhood with the hashish trade. This Report also needs to be necessary studying for each California legislator and for each government degree Administrator in any Administrative Department or Agency that has a major involvement with the hashish trade.
California legalized medical hashish in 1996 in Proposition 215. California legalized adult-use hashish nearly 20 years later in Proposition 64 – an initiative modification to the California Constitution. Proposition 64 was ill-conceived, and poorly drafted. See Keeping Proposition 215’s Promise. The California Legislature compounded the issues created by Proposition 64 with its try and impose regulation and taxation on a well-established trade by power of will. See, See Implementing Proposition 64. The most grievous error of the Legislature, nonetheless, is probably going its creation of an administrative company construction crammed with clever and expert directors who have been wholly missing in an understanding of the present trade in addition to within the imaginative and prescient required to information the conversion of the present underground trade right into a regulated trade. See Background California Cannabis Regulation and .
The basis for chaos created by the folks of California in Proposition 64 and the Legislature was handed on to the Cities and Counties of California very like a harmful virus. Every City and County obtained some measure of encouragement, or stress, from advocates, promoters, advisers, consultants, specialists and voters in addition to a number of opportunists. Each had an opinion. Each had an agenda.
None of those people had a complete and workable plan for a way a selected locality might greatest match into California’s regulated hashish trade. The Legislature didn’t design a complete and workable plan for California’s regulated hashish trade not to mention clarify how the well-established underground hashish trade would transition right into a regulated trade. As a consequence, most California Cities and Counties have some native model of the chaos that prevails all through California in its hashish trade.
Santa Barbara County is totally different from all different Counties. No different County is prone to have made the identical errors as Santa Barbara. Most Cities and Counties, nonetheless, have succumbed to a better or lesser diploma to the encouragement, or stress, that led Santa Barbara County to error so grievously. We suggest these people we describe above no less than think about these paragraphs of the closing of the Report that observe and the way the ideas of the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury could apply within the locality with which they’re concerned.
“A more sobering realization for the Jury was that the governance in this matter took the form of some Supervisors aggressively pushing through their own agendas while other Supervisors meekly followed or resigned themselves to the inevitable.
“Some senior staff in the office of the Santa Barbara County Chief Executive Office and the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department became cannabis advocates, losing their objectivity to the point of interfering in the responsibilities of independent agencies and elected officials.”
“The Board of Supervisors rushed through the cannabis ordinances, ignoring the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission and staff recommendations on verification of applicants claiming eligibility to grow cannabis, to buffer distances for odor, and to not establishing cannabis as a compatible use that would allow for an analysis of compatibility with traditional agriculture. The actions of the Board resulted in the picking of winners and losers.
“The Board of Supervisors used the mechanism of an Ad Hoc Sub Committee to craft the cannabis ordinances out of public view. These ordinances are now the cautionary tale for other counties in the State of California on what not to do.
“The Ralph M. Brown Act, codified as California Government Code 54950 et seq., declares as follows:
‘In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards, and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.’
The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.’
“The Jury believes the Board of Supervisors, in their hubris, failed the people of Santa Barbara County. Now they must amend the cannabis ordinances to regain the people’s trust.” [Bold added.]
All of the instruments exist below the present legal guidelines of the State of California to create a authorized hashish trade that encompasses each medical and adult-use hashish wherein all companies are in full compliance with all relevant tax and regulatory obligations. The State of California, working with the purported leaders of the hashish trade, has forcefully demonstrated that it doesn’t know learn how to produce such a outcome. This outcome, whether it is to be achieved, can be produced by the considerate efforts of the governance of California’s Cities and Counties.
The lesson all native leaders should take from Santa Barbara County is that the selections every locality makes regarding hashish should be primarily based on a complete understanding of the pursuits of your complete neighborhood with respect to California’s hashish trade. Every resident of California is impacted to a point by California’s hashish trade. As a consequence,each resident has some curiosity in California’s hashish trade. Responsible governance of every locality calls for knowledgeable and considerate compromises regarding the perfect pursuits of your complete neighborhood in all issues, together with hashish.
Cannabis is simply one other agricultural commodity. As California agricultural commodities go, it isn’t significantly essential from a monetary standpoint. As a consequence of greed, this agricultural commodity has obtained way more consideration in recent times than could be justified. For political causes this agricultural commodity has lengthy triggered accidents to way more California residents than have been justified. Legalization of adult-use hashish in California has raised the monetary stakes and imposed a far better burden on educated and considerate native governance.
The story instructed within the Report illustrates how troublesome it’s for native governance to rise to the event in view lack of ample help and steering from the State. In this regard some may even see a parallel with the States and nationwide management in reference to the COVID-19 disaster.