CA county sues cannabis grower for creating ‘public nuisance’

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Santa Barbara County in California filed the jurisdiction’s first nuisance lawsuit against a cannabis company after receiving eight complaints from neighbors about odors from the growing operation.

The lawsuit claims that Island View Ranch and Island Breeze Farms created a “continuing public nuisance” since at least March 2019 and should be shuttered, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.

Such a lawsuit could embolden other communities to similarly crack down on marijuana operations.

Already, federal racketeering lawsuits based on such nuisance claims have become a business liability risk for state-legal marijuana operations.

But in this case, the lawsuit also claims that Island Breeze hasn’t “diligently pursued” obtaining the county and state business licenses to operate and therefore is illegally growing and processing marijuana, the Independent reported.

The lawsuit also claims the operation is violating the state’s Unfair Competition Law by profiting to the “detriment of lawful cannabis businesses operating in the county,” the newspaper reported.

The Independent wasn’t able to reach Island View and Island Breeze officials for comment.

In another county enforcement action, Sunshine Organics Greens, a 144,000-square-foot greenhouse operation, “surrendered” its provisional state cultivation licenses after local officials notified state regulators that the company wasn’t moving quickly enough through its zoning-permit process.

That case is complicated by a dispute between the operator and property owner.