Petaluma neighborhood calls cannabis grow 'new low'

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Until last spring, Carol Bokaie of Petaluma and her family thought of this as their piece of the American dream. A big house amidst vineyards. She says it used to be heaven. Now?

"It is hell. We have lost peace of mind, safety, health, the investment in our home." Carol says it began when the vineyard in her backyard leased one acre to a cannabis grower that that Sonoma County now intends to shut down.

They are operating without a permit and have 40 building code violations," said Tim Ricard, who manages the Sonoma County Cannabis program.

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Pending a hearing Friday, the grower, Green Earth Coffee, faces as much as $1 million in penalties for 3,000 square feet of cannabis in 40 growing structures.

That's not all. This week, neighbors filed suit against the grower and vineyard in federal court.

They describe the growing operation as noisy, and the smell of cannabis as unhealthy.

"Oh my God it is a big disturbance to all of us," said Marie Uppal, who takes care of a nephew with Cerebral Palsy. "He has trouble breathing."

"It is like the stench of a skunk. You cannot escape. I keep the windows closed," added Carol.

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No one from the vineyard or the growers commented. Between the lawsuit and signs along Adobe Road, the neighborhood has certainly made its opinion known. The note not now, but two schools less than half a mile away.

Parents and staff at Old Adobe Elementary say Cannabis and kids shouldn't go together.

"People are hypersensitive to where their kids are. This, and that being a thousand feet away, That's a problem," said principal Jim Williamson.

In California, the law regarding Cannabis used to be so simple until it became legal.

"If he had a permit would it be alright?" we asked Carol Bokai.

"I am not against cannabis," she said. "There are better places to grow it than here."

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