Cannabis Production Next Door?
San Luis Obispo is one of the most beautiful and well-tended places in California, yet many citizens of our county are not aware of just how much pot is slated to be grown here, and what the risks may be.
There are many many proximal risks associated with cannabis cultivation, whether legal or illegal (ask law enforcement up in California's famed emerald triangle). We don't know in many cases just how large or small those risks are, but what we do know is that there is MUCH LESS risk to citizens when pot is not permitted nearby.
Planned Pot Production Locations
FIND THE POT NEAR YOU
If you would like to find out where all the cannabis is planned to go, and how close it will be, you can also use the SLO county planning department tool LandUseView for the most up-to-date information. Register for a free account.
Once you're in, click 'I want to', followed by 'See Layer List'. On the layers on the left, click 'Permit Information' and then click 'Cannabis.' The location of marijuana applications in process are dark green, though light green indicates prior registrations with the county.
You can also contact the department of Planning and Building for project-specific information, and to register your comments/letters with respect to those projects.
A Perspective on Land Use Planning
It is a normal function of local government to make sometimes contentious and objectionable land use planning decisions. They may plan for new airports, longer runways, roadways, and many other things that impact local neighborhoods, frequently in ways that disturb neighborhoods and their character.
While these decisions are frequently contentious and imperfect, they are more often than not understood as being for the public good.
What is the ultimate 'public good' of imposing a serious neighborhood blight on you and your neighbors and being forced to tolerate cannabis cultivation and production next door?
Pot growers and the county making $$$ will be at the expense of you, your family, neighbors and larger community.
Cannabis cultivation produces LOTS of stench. It smells like skunks and many people find they cannot enjoy the outdoors around it, and even feel physically ill. Will cannabis around your neighborhood stink? If it is an outdoor or greenhouse grow, there is a strong likelihood that it will smell terribly. The smell is particularly bad during marijuana flowering and harvesting.
The way was cleared to bring federal racketeering charges against neighboring marijuana grows and dispensaries
LOSS OF NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTER
San Luis Obispo county land use ordinances have been quietly updated in the last two years to allow permitted cannabis growing operations in many parts of the county. Despite its provisions to supposedly protect the character of a neighborhood, state and local regulations can in NO WAY guarantee that.
If you or a friend happens to live in any neighborhood that is agricultural, rural-residential, or industrial-zoned, there's a high risk of having a cannabis grower/dealer move right in next door, or having an existing neighbor put in for a cannabis application. Unfortunately, the county's current setback requirement is small (300 ft.), arbitrary and totally insufficient. Furthermore, there is currently no limit to the number of adjacent or nearby parcels that can produce cannabis, i.e., your neighborhood could be overrun with pot, lots of it.
San Luis Obispo's cannabis ordinance will allow up to 141 cannabis cultivation sites, though no doubt some will lobby for even more.
The impact of cannabis on property values? Property values are a reflection of the desirability of a property, and depend to a very large degree on facets of the neighborhood. In real estate, the mantra is 'location, location, location, and prudent real estate buyers always buy 'for the next buyer.' If someone starts commercial pot growing next door, you'll definitely want to disclose it.
Most peoples' homes are their biggest investment.
A heartbreaking note from a Sonoma resident giving up and selling the property at loss due to two cannabis operations
CANNABIS AND LOCAL CRIME
Crime and cannabis have a long and complex history. A hallucinogen, marijuana is both a cause and object of criminality whether a next-door pot grower wants it or not. Some legal growers voluntarily dump their weed onto black markets when there's a glut of supply. Others face organized crime and thieves who steal cultivated pot and move it through the black market to places where they can get a premium sales price.
Some incursions can happen on neighbors' properties. In addition, cannabis is illegal according to Federal law, meaning most banking institutions cannot provide banking services to cannabis businesses. The result: high amounts of cash on the property that is a target for theft and related violence.
There are risks to anyone in or near the cannabis supply chain. While California CCB and San Luis Obispo require physical security protections at cultivation sites, it is not known how much of a deterrent that will be, and to what degree neighboring sites may also face security-related risks.
At minimum, cannabis operations may attract individuals of ill repute. Remember, many 'legal' growers did it illegally for years, and they still have strong networks of criminal friends.
YOUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT