May 27, 2023
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Two cannabis growers in Santa Barbara County to pay environmental fines


The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office has settled cases against two cannabis growers for violating environmental laws.

Both settlements were announced Aug. 17. The first was with 805 Agricultural Holdings, which will pay $40,000 in civil penalties to a variety of state and county agencies. The fines settle a complaint that the grower “unlawfully altered a streambed by removing vegetation from a stream, grading a road within a stream, and constructing hoop houses within a stream,” according to a statement from District Attorney Joyce Dudley. 805 Agricultural Holdings also polluted a stream with diesel fuel, pesticides, rodent poisons, fertilizers, plastic irrigation pipes and hoop houses, Dudley’s statement said.

In a separate case, the cannabis grower Vertical Companies will pay $50,000 in civil penalties and the landowner Divine Mercy will pay $5,250 for their roles in a grow operation on Mail Road between Lompoc and Buellton.

The grower and landowner graded a road through the Santa Ynez River and used a 5-acre area within the river channel for cannabis cultivation, including grading, hoop houses, underground piping, an electrical generator and the use and storage of fertilizer and pesticides, Dudley’s office said.

“Although these violations were serious and caused environmental harm, we are grateful for the cooperation of Vertical Companies and Divine Mercy during our investigation,” Dudley said in the news release. “Of note is that Divine Mercy is a non-profit entity and their agreement to perform environmental remediation and restoration rendered a reduced civil penalty appropriate.”