Ah, Sonoma County, California. A group of neighbors has filed a lawsuit against a cannabis grower in what might be the first cannabis suing in California since recreational marijuana became legal.
What’s going on?
Cannabis Suing in California
The troupe is suing Carlos Zambrano and his partners in Green Earth Coffee for purportedly growing cannabis without a license. The neighbors took to the US District Court in San Francisco, to file the suit.
They claim that their livelihoods have been greatly disrupted by the noises and odors emitted from the growing site. Further, that the company is raising cannabis without local permits or state licenses.
Their concerns include health issues, specifically for the Uppals, whose son has suffered breathing problems as a result of the strong stench of cannabis.
According to the group, “Family members must remain near [the Uppals’ son] at all times to guard against the risk of suffocation,” windows must be kept closed, and a case of asthma has been exacerbated as a result of the plantation.
But is the Site Really Illegal?
Sonoma County officials have approved 18 marijuana growers to cultivate on small-scale farms since it started accepting applications for cannabis business in July 2017. As a larger project, Green Earth’s operation must go through the planning department for approval. However, this department has not approved any outdoor cannabis operations.
But according to Zambrano’s attorney Joe Rogoway, the operation was only using the land allocated to them by the county: “That cultivation was occurring only because the county told them they could do it there.”
He said further, “Its fundamentally unfair.”
Zambrano and his partners moved the cultivation operation from a different area in Petaluma to the current site under guidelines provided by county officials and believed they were conforming to local and state law.
He Said, She Said
The Sonoma County could be at fault for this cannabis suing case. One of the neighbors Mr. Bokaie spoke of how the county failed to act when more and more greenhouses were being erected on the site:
“If there’s an illegal cannabis grow, it should be shut down; it’s very simple.”
But on the other side of the coin, Rogoway will show in court that his clients followed the advice of Sonoma County staff and that any grievances are the fault of the county and not of his clients.
So is Sonoma County to blame here? Are cannabis regulations not stringent enough in the county?
Featured Image: Deposit Photos/ nito103