Lack of planning?
Dear Editor: Sonoma County wants to be a mecca for outdoor cannabis cultivation, boasting that people prefer Sonoma County weed because of soil and climate. Yet they bring in external soil, discard spent soil, and shield plants from our natural climate in hoop houses or greenhouses. The proposed new ordinance will attract big players from out of state. Do we want 20+ acre mega grows like in Santa Barbara and Humboldt Counties, outcompeting our local growers?
No other Bay Area county allows outdoor cannabis cultivation for good reasons. Odor can drift thousands of feet, impacting wineries and requiring neighbors to remain indoors with windows closed. 24/7 commercial activity with many workers further destroys neighborhoods, and fields of white plastic hoop houses mar our hillsides. This is in addition to huge negative environmental impacts of extensive water and electrical usage, and increased traffic and people in high fire prone areas.
Our county can do much better in revising its cannabis ordinance to streamline for local growers, protect residents, environment and visual impacts, by conducting a proper EIR to determine suitable areas and conditions for responsibly growing cannabis. Yet our Planning Commissioners want to accept this new ordinance acknowledging that environmental review is lacking.