Marijuana farms face uncertain future in California Valley
California Valley has become a haven of sorts for marijuana farms, but as San Luis Obispo County mulls over a marijuana ordinance, cultivators and residents face an uncertain future.
In a town of little more than 500 people, there are 300 marijuana grows hoping to stay in the area permanently.
"We are not gang members, we're not thugs, we are just simple average people, like everybody," said Vong Lee, medical marijuana grower in California Valley.
His 75-plant farm has so far passed county inspections, but Vong says the rules keep changing.
"They are getting pretty tough. Every month something new comes out," he said.
County staff is considering capping the number of marijuana grows and even debating whether to ban all pot farming on the Carrizo Plain, where most of the grows are located.
"I'm worried about if they plan on coming in and saying, 'You guys can't grow anymore,' because what would that mean? That we have to take them down now? That's the main concern right there," Vong said.
Some residents lived without neighbors for years and are now being surrounded by marijuana farms.
"Just right around me I have 12," said a California Valley resident who did not want to be identified.
She says many of the pot farms aren't respecting the rules.
"They don't pay taxes, they drive very fast and ruin the roads, and they are taking our water supply," she added.
County officials are well aware of the concerns from residents, and after several months of debate, the county will soon decide what the future of pot grows will look like in San Luis Obispo County.
The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission will discuss and probably vote on an ordinance at their public meeting on September 14. Once they establish an ordinance recommendation, it will be handed off to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.