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California, like other states, has a Correct to Farm Act that is intended to defend agricultural activity, and a lot of counties have their personal regional ideal to farm ordinances as effectively. California’s Correct to Farm Act provides:

“No agricultural activity, operation, or facility, or appurtenances thereof, carried out or maintained for industrial purposes, and in a manner constant with right and accepted customs and requirements, as established and followed by related agricultural operations in the similar locality, shall be or develop into a nuisance, private or public, due to any changed situation in or about the locality, just after it has been in operation for additional than 3 years if it was not a nuisance at the time it started.”

The intent of these forms of laws is to defend farmers who use accepted and normal farming practices from nuisance lawsuits in particular situations. In California, at the state level, cannabis cultivation is not regarded as “agricultural” such that it would be eligible for protection beneath the Correct to Farm Act. But in some counties, regional ordinances do define cannabis cultivation as agricultural activity, providing cannabis cultivators protection beneath regional ideal to farm ordinances. Santa Barbara County is one particular such jurisdiction that has deemed cannabis cultivation to be agricultural.

Tensions arise, nevertheless, exactly where the requirements for points like pesticides are quite distinctive for cannabis versus other agricultural goods like wine grapes. Lots of pesticides that are legal for use on vineyards are not legal for use on cannabis. This is when pesticide drift, which refers to the “airborne movement of pesticides from an location of application to any unintended web page,” becomes a significant situation.

There is case law addressing the situation of pesticide drift in California, and one particular such relevant case involving a farmer of organic dill whose crop became contaminated by means of pesticide drift from a nearby brussels sprouts farm, identified that the organic dill farmer did have legal recourse against the Brussels sprouts farmer, even even though the pesticides had been legally applied.

The defendant Brussels sprouts farmer argued that for the reason that it had not run afoul of state law, the plaintiff did not have the ideal to sue. But the court held that the defendant could in reality be held liable for tainting the plaintiff’s organic crops. The defendant of course argued that this would “impose a severe burden and concern to the sector.”

But the situation becomes even additional sensitive when 1) cannabis cultivators are held to very higher requirements in terms of pesticide restrictions and two) they are operating close to vineyards that have been in the similar place, utilizing the similar accepted very best practices for pesticide application for a lot of years. Pesticide drift from these vineyards has the prospective to taint important cannabis crops rendering them unviable.

And this is specifically what is taking place in some places like Santa Barbara County. In June, the operators of the Fiddlestix Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills discovered that the fungicide they had been spraying on their grapes for decades could be drifting onto a nearby cannabis farm. The vineyard has now began utilizing a “more high-priced and far much less productive spray on the grapevines that are nearest to the cannabis farm” although the county investigates. Some vineyard owners have complained that Santa Barbara County in distinct has been “too permissive” toward cannabis cultivation operators.

Eventually, in counties that are licensing cannabis cultivators, growers of all sorts of agricultural goods will need to have to understand to coexist. But the situation of pesticide drift and the implications of ideal to farm laws appear to be additional difficulties in a extended list that regulators didn’t adequately anticipate at the outset of regulation. Our hope is that these disputes will resolve amicably, and we will be following them closely.

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