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An open invitation to the Shredder: Come listen to us in Creston

This is my personal invitation for you to come to my backyard and meet the citizens of Creston.

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 19. Come to our Creston Advisory Body (CAB) meeting held at the Creston Community Church, 5170 O'Donovan Road in Creston. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

At this CAB meeting, two proposed cannabis projects will be reviewed by the CAB board for community recommendation to the SLO County Department of Planning and Building. The CAB is the only way we can give direct input on any cannabis project that impacts our community. Unfortunately, only Big Cannabis has had inputs to this point—the public has not had the same opportunities to shape the county's cannabis policies.

It's all about land use, not cannabis use. You missed the essence of my May 26 letter to the Board of Supervisors and the process used by the Planning Commission and Department of Planning and Building in your June 6 column ("Big NIMBY shuffle").

In contrast to your editorial comments about the SLO County Board of Supervisors, your editorial missed the residential agriculture public's real issues with Big Cannabis. At this CAB meeting, you will actually see and hear Small Town America exercise its civic rights and provide our points of view on why we do not want Big Cannabis projects forced into our backyards.

You might even gain insights to some of the facts from my letter that were discussed at the June 4 Board of Supervisors meeting:

1. Eliminate industrial cannabis manufacturing on agricultural zoned land. Chemical extraction of THC using ethanol as solvent and/or liquid carbon dioxide at high pressures is an explosion and fire risk. This is not "farm to table"; this is industrial chemical manufacturing.

2. Include residential dwelling units in the "sensitive receptor" definition and site restrictions. Homes and families should have the same setback restrictions of 1,000 feet as schools, day care facilities, and elder care centers from a cannabis project.

3. Keep the cultivation of cannabis indoors and limited to sealed greenhouses that do not vent to the atmosphere. The nuisance odors from cannabis cannot be managed with outdoor cultivation. Therefore, in proximity to residential agriculture neighborhoods, require indoor cultivation technologies to mitigate this air pollution. Implement a set of strict density limitations for the number of cannabis cultivation sites that may be near each other in a neighborhood area.

4. Require compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act by ending undue exemptions to cannabis projects. Any business that constructs new buildings must go through an environmental study and if warranted an environmental review per state law. Big cannabis should not be exempt from CEQA. There are currently two lawsuits filed in SLO County that are specific to this issue.

Big Cannabis brings negative impacts to our residential agriculture community, health, safety, homes, and families. Not just in Creston, but across the county. That's why we don't want to be forced to have Big Cannabis in our backyards. For reference and fact-based information, check out slocannabiswatchgroup.org. Once you learn the facts, you will NIMBY too.

New Times should have you cover this story at the CAB meting and allow the Creston community to meet you in person. Perhaps we could all learn your real name? Out here in the country we like to get to know someone by their name—it's just neighborly.

So join us at the CAB meeting on June 19 and come to my backyard here in Creston. Δ

Jim Wortner lives around Creston (aka Small Town America). Send your comments through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com or write an letter to the editor and send it to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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