Sonoma County neighborhood files suit to stop commercial cannabis grow

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Friday, October 26, 2018
Sonoma Co. neighborhood files suit to stop commercial cannabis grow
West Petaluma residents have filed a lawsuit in order to stop a commercial cannabis grow in their neighborhood which they say is bringing busloads of people onto the property.

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- In rural West Petaluma, it is less a matter of "not in my backyard" as "not in my dairy cow neighborhood," along Purvine Road.

"I can smell it. I can see it." The signs in front of Britt Christiansen's home, and others, tell the story of a neighborhood's suspicions about Sonoma Hills Farm, where they claim the new owners have already begun commercial cannabis operations and tours before receiving the county permit, for which they have applied.

RELATED: Petaluma neighborhood calls cannabis grow 'new low'

Last week, those neighbors convinced a Sonoma County judge to grant a temporary restraining order, and they filed suit against not only the farm's owners, but also a local tour company that they say has bought busloads of people onto the property.

"The issue is turning our peaceful neighborhood into a tourist destination and commercial grow," said Ayn Garvisch.

"To have this pop up in our neighborhood is very depressing." Sanjay Bagai provided pictures to ABC7, which he says shows commercial cannabis growing on the farm. On Thursday, a spokesperson confirmed that a tenant on the property has a medicinal permit.

"Unfortunately, this seems to be just another attempt by a small group of neighbors led by an overzealous attorney to threaten and intimidate... We certainly will not grow cannabis illegally," said the farm in a statement.

"Absolutely there should be more enforcement on the county level," said neighbor Phoebe Lang.

Two hours ago, such enforcement showed up. A county inspection team responded to the restraining order and looked around.

"We came to visit and found no evidence of cannabis cultivation on site," said Maggie Fleming, a spokesperson for Permit Sonoma County.

Neighbors were not surprised by those results.

Sonoma Hills Farm describes their lawsuit as being "frivolous."

They say photos of people on the farm show, not a commercial tour, but a private birthday party.

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