The party is over in Santa Cruz.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors did an abrupt about-face and reversed the county's lenient policy toward non-personal medical cannabis cultivation last night — banning all of it.
Commercial cannabis cultivators earned the ire of local officials in Santa Cruz with neighborhood impacts like odor, environmental damage, traffic, security measures like dogs, lights and fences, and just generally being bad neighbors, according to county staff reports.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in a 3-2 vote banned commercial pot grows, following staff recommendations to reverse a 2014 policy that allowed them. Public comment lasted more than three hours, reports
According to county reports, at least 145 known illegal grows are impacting neighbors in the county. Santa Cruz County staff wrote that permissive local regulations had led to an influx of commercial growers in the past year.
Personal cultivation will be limited to a 10-foot-by10-foot plot, which is generally plenty for an individuals’ medical need. The ordinance requires a second reading, then goes into effect in 30 to 60 days.
Cannabis advocates in the region deplored the outcome of Tuesday's meeting, reports
The ban illustrates an ongoing issue with California’s patchwork, local-led approach to regulating medical cannabis production — a multibillion-dollar industry. While some counties have recently moved to ban all cannabis cultivation, others have not, creating a balloon effect that causes profit-oriented growers to locate and set up shop in the most lenient counties.