EDITOR: Sonoma County’s cannabis growing businesses should be allowed only in industrial zones, not in neighborhoods. One popped up next door to me and turned my life upside down. This unpermitted operation sits on my fence line and is practically in my backyard. I can no longer enjoy my backyard or live comfortably in my house due to the odor, noise and fear from living within feet of a marijuana business.
A limited liability corporation owns and leases the land to a cannabis production company. The diverse agriculture zoning rules allow its marijuana grow buildings to remain without a property line setback. Employees come and go 24 hours a day, and I hear their discussions, vehicles and activities.
Many Sonoma County neighborhoods face this problem. A marijuana business unexpectedly appears, and outraged residents are left hunting for recourse. We voted to legalize adult recreational marijuana use, but we didn’t vote to have it grown commercially in our neighborhoods. The Sonoma County Growers Alliance estimates 5,000 grow sites exist throughout the county.
The Board of Supervisors banned commercial marijuana operations in certain residential neighborhoods after listening to concerned residents. Many of us want the board to make the same decision about diverse agriculture neighborhoods (which interweave residential zones) and restrict commercial cannabis grow businesses to industrial zones only.