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School district opposing proposed cannabis cultivation site in Santa Maria

Santa Maria cannabis proposed sit.JPG
Posted at 6:04 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 19:30:16-04

UPDATE - Stateside Greens says it has withdrawn its application for the proposed cannabis cultivation project in Santa Maria. Read more here - Application for cannabis cultivation site in Santa Maria withdrawn

The SMJUHSD released the following statement Tuesday after hearing the application was withdrawn: “We are very happy about the news. We will continue to focus our efforts on providing the best learning experience possible, in a safe environment, for all of our students.”

ORIGINAL STORY - A 40-acre outdoor cannabis cultivation site is being proposed in Santa Maria.

According to the applicant behind the project, out of those 40 acres, only 20 would be used to grow cannabis.

The development has been in the works since February of 2020, but not everyone nearby is in support.

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (SMJUHSD) recently opened up its Career Technical Education Center and agricultural farm not too far from where the project is being proposed, approximately 900 feet away.

District officials say they don't want it near their high school.

According to the applicant and CEO of Stateside Greens, Michael Salman, their plan is to build plastic hoops over the cannabis similar to a nearby berry farm.

Salman claims that will help with odor control, something many have concerns about.

"When you are cultivating for outdoor purposes, like just fully out there with no hoops, your smell is just out there, it's floating around but when you are on your hoops, it's closed off that way,” he said.

Salman says, initially, they were also applying for processing on site but they are no longer doing that, which means when they harvest the crop, it would leave the site and go to a processing facility away from the farm.

A farm owner who owns land right across from the proposed site says he supports the project as long as it has good safety and security controls in place.

Salman adds he is willing to work with neighboring businesses and address any concerns they might have.

"I am looking to do whatever it takes to address any concerns they might have. I'm here to put a positive footprint on the community. I'm here to build for the community, regardless of the stigma people may have about cannabis,” Salman said.

As for the school district, officials plan on officially opposing the cultivation site.

"The district is working with its legal counsel to submit a letter of opposition to the Santa Barbara Planning and Developing Department,” said John Davis, SMJUHSD Assistant Superintendent.

According to Santa Barbara County Planning and Development officials, they are still reviewing the land use permit application that was submitted back in February. They say the applicant is still working on some outstanding items before the project can be approved or denied.

The department's decision is appealable to the County Planning Commission. An appeal can be filed within 10 days following the decision.