June 23, 2019, published in the Santa Barbara Press-Reader This guest opinion references a Los Angeles Times article, “The world’s largest pot farms and how Santa Barbara opened the door”(June 12th).
Since cannabis firm Tilray’s successful IPO, investors have poured capital into marijuana. This Green Rush has allowed investors and businesspeople (so called “growers”) to exploit our county supervisors, who have acted more like partners than impartial representatives for the 400,000 or so other county residents.
Behind closed doors, the Board of Supervisors disregarded our Master Plan’s preference for existing business (among other things) and accelerated the process (CEQA was a joke). This was purposefully done while many of us were either evacuated or engulfed in the worst county disaster in history. Continue reading Opinion from Santa Barbara: Cozy with Cannabis→
A reader shared with us two letters on Prop. 64, the Adult Legalization of Marijuana Act sent to the Los Angeles Times. She said, “It isn’t yet a legal substance, yet I realize that I have constantly smelled very strong marijuana fumes in my yard for about the last month.” Those who remember the smog Los Angeles suffered from in the past cannot believe that the state is willing to embrace a return to such a major environmental disaster again.
Patricia Jackson writes: “Here is what I submitted in reaction to a story ‘Tough New Climate Limits’ which ran on Friday, September 9, 2016:
I question whether these new tough climate laws will achieve their full potential if marijuana is legalized. I already find myself closing my car windows and running my air conditioning substantially more often than in prior years because of the overpowering smell of marijuana. People who smoke pot in their cars seem to almost always open their windows for some reason.
Both my front and back yard are constantly filled with the smell of marijuana both in the earliest morning when I walk out to pick out my copy of my just-delivered LA Times as well as into the evening when I go out into my backyard. On a recent 3-day weekend while painting high up on a ladder I had to wear a respirator mask at all times because the wind carried the at times chokingly-powerful smell of marijuana from someone near by who was on a morning-to-night marijuana bender.
One of your first stories on the legalization of marijuana featured a marijuana distributor standing in a state park. I thought the point of state and national parks was to create a nature experience. The legalization of marijuana will rob many people of the right to clean air and will disproportionately affect people living in apartments and people who cannot speak up for themselves for a variety of reasons. I’d like to know who is liable if I am overcome by fumes and sustain an injury. Unlike all the other places where marijuana has been legalized, Los Angeles has often record-low amounts of rain to clear the air, a host of dying mature trees and air that already contains a high amount of particulate matter.
It baffles me that the legalization of marijuana is even being considered in a way that gives a free hand to marijuana smokers about where they smoke. I’d also like to see a story about how often childrens’ sports teams in public parks (soccer, basketball, swimming, etc) experience marijuana fumes during their workouts. My experience was that every time I picked up my children from the park I smelled strong marijuana fumes.Please, please take the time to make clear that by legalizing marijuana we are abdicating our right to clean air.
The second letter is to Robin Abcarian, who is writing a series on marijuana legalization
I have been reading your series on the presumed legalization of marijuana and am baffled at the lack of discussion of the effect on clean air. There are no restrictions on where marijuana may be used, the restrictions are on where it is sold. I can tell you from overwhelming personal experience that the powerful effects of the wind in dispersing marijuana fumes from the most powerful brands of pot are not being considered at all. This means that pot may not be consumed physically next to school but in areas adjoining and the smell wafts over to the school. Or, what happened to me: I discovered while high up on a ladder to paint that marijuana odors travel at different rates on the wind. The fumes were far more powerful up high than they were at ground level.
The unrestricted ability to smoke some of the really potent, smelly marijuana means that the so-called selling point protections are meaningless because they fail to take into account how children and vulnerable adults could be impacted by powerful marijuana fumes. I am also interested in knowing what protections exist for people who are neighbors of heavy users and/or who live in apartments.
I currently smell marijuana when I step out into my yard around 6-7am and into the evening. I have completely lost the ability to know with any degree of certainty that I will be able to breathe in and get clean, un-marijuana-soiled air. I voted for legalization the last time, but I most certainly won’t this time because my experience has been that fumes from the types of brands of marijuana now available substantially reduce my quality of life in reducing my guaranteed access to un-marijuana-laced air.
I recently noticed just how polluted the air outside and in my home had become when I went to a dental office and was astounded at how refreshingly odor-free the air was. The dentist’s office was always a place previously where I was acutely aware of odors. Recent land-mark California clean air legislation could be completely undermined by the additional need for air conditioners, fans, and other technologies to block the smell of marijuana.If the marijuana industry is so profitable, they should be setting up and publicizing odor-free zones instead of sending people to side streets to smoke their pot (and yes, my street has filled that function for pot dispensaries). If you are dispensing it, people should be using the really smelly stuff somewhere where not everyone else is forced to participate.