Whether cannabis is a crop or a drug may determine which option Santa Barbara County supervisors choose to allow cultivation on agricultural preserve lands when they consider a number of cannabis regulations Tuesday.
One option would restrict the crop to a small percentage of a site, while the other would not impose a limit.
Other cannabis issues to be considered include an ordinance establishing licenses for cultivation, possession, manufacturing, distribution, processing, storage, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, delivery and retail sales for both medical and recreational uses.
Supervisors also will consider several options for capping the amount of cannabis cultivation after already indicating an intent to limit the number of retail cannabis licenses to eight countywide, with a maximum of two per supervisorial district.
For board members as well as county residents, a fundamental question about cannabis has been whether it should be treated the same as any recognized agricultural crop or as a manufactured product because it’s classified as a controlled substance by the federal government.
How it’s viewed by supervisors will affect the way they craft amendments to the county’s Uniform Rules, which establish eligibility requirements and compatible uses for lands in agricultural preserve status.
“Cannabis is similar in certain ways to other uses that are currently considered to be either qualifying or compatible uses pursuant to the Uniform Rules,” said supervising planner Mindy Fogg in a report to the board.
“For example, cannabis cultivation involves the growing of plants similar to crop production that may count towards the minimum cultivation requirements of the Uniform Rules.”
She noted cannabis requires a certain amount of preparation — trimming and drying — like some other crops, as well as processing similar to turning