CARPINTERIA, Calif. - For about two years, cannabis growers around the city limits of Carpinteria have grown more pot that most people could have ever imagined. The impacts, however, do not stay in one location.
Tuesday, citizens told the city council they continue to be frustrated by the cannabis smell in the air on a daily basis. Some people notice it more at night, especially when there's a marine layer or fog that would keep the air from circulating.
Last week, during several days of wind, the smell was less of an issue according to residents in the area.
Long-term health impacts still need a detailed study according to one resident who said it was too early to tell if there will be any health impacts from inhaling the air coming from the cannabis grows.
Many growers say they are properly permitted and follow the rules.
Thousands of dollars have been spent on new systems to filter and clean discharged air so it does not have any odor that gets into neighboring streets. That may still be falling short of fully addressing the problem based on the public comments against the cannabis.
Mayor Wade Nomura says a resolution needs to be sent to the County of Santa Barbara which oversees the cannabis industry, permits and enforcement actions.
It will be formulated as part of a June 17 special meeting regarding this issue. The public will be allowed to speak.
"Who is going to police this?,” said Nomura.
"It has to be addressed. It has to be stopped. There has to be some sort of balance between the two. Whether it is fewer or however we decide to do it. The impacts right now is hindering the way we live as Carpinterians," said Nomura.
He said a resolution should call for changes immediately.
One resident said there was an unanticipated impact from the cannabis grows in the form of density.
Councilman Al Clark was outspoken about health issues.
"In the meantime we are not just smelling it, we're suffering reported health complaints while waiting for something to happen," Clark said. "A lot of people are still confused over who had jurisdiction over what."
He said Carpinteria was once a beautiful little town with open field agriculture. With the increase in cannabis "that's a big change of life."
There was also a call to send a letter to state leaders. Councilman Fred Shaw said there should be a deadline on permits because he believes it will "continue to the problem."
Complaints from people who are impacted have been told to file complaints with the grower involved and also with the county.
"We passed legalizing cannabis in California," Councilman Gregg Carty reminded the council.
He says he has talked to Carpinteria growers. "Don't hesitate to contact them if you have some concerns," he said.
Carty said there's a lot of negative things happening to Carpinteria and it's best to "deal with it now than later."