An application for a permit to grow cannabis near a career education facility just southeast of Santa Maria has been withdrawn after the high school district announced its formal opposition to the project.
Stateside Greens withdrew the application for a land use permit to cultivate 38 acres of cannabis on the northern portion of the Juan de Jesus Cisneros Trust’s 165-acre agricultural parcel at 3950 Highway 101.
The proposed grow site was about 1,000 feet from the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District’s Career Technical Education Center and Ag Farm.
“They withdrew the application as of around noon [Tuesday],” said Rey Harmon, the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department’s case planner for the project. “It’s official. It was in writing. So we’re in the process of closing that [application] out now.”
Michael Salman, chief executive officer of Stateside Greens, explained the school district’s opposition was the reason for withdrawing the application.
“My intention was never to create issues for the community but, rather, create a positive footprint in the cannabis industry by bringing a good project forward, creating jobs and doing this the right way,” Salman said.
“After almost a year’s effort to create a great project and now that the school district administration has made clear to the media their extreme displeasure at the possibility of being our neighbor, I have decided to withdraw the project.”
But he added he intends to continue his effort to bring a positive cannabis project to the community.
The high school district announced its opposition to the project in a terse statement to the media in front of the CTE Center on Aug. 13.
“District officials and the SMJUHSD school board are opposed to the project,” said John Davis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “The district is working with its legal counsel to submit a letter of opposition to the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department this week.”
Davis said the district would have no further comment at that time.
Kenny Klein, public information officer, said the district received word early Tuesday afternoon that the application had been withdrawn.
“We are very happy about the news,” Klein said. “We will continue to focus our effort on providing the best learning experience possible, in a safe environment, for all our students.”
High school district officials objected to the cultivation project’s proximity to the CTE Center, which opened its doors to students last Thursday and hosts up to 500 students plus staff per weekday.
Three times a day, students are bused to the center from Santa Maria, Pioneer Valley, Righetti and Delta high schools for two-hour blocks of education and hands-on training in agricultural and related technical fields.
The center also provides land for students to grow crops as well as a barn, pens and corrals where Future Farmers of America youths can raise their animals for the Santa Barbara County Fair livestock exhibitions and auctions.