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Santa Barbara County Marijuana farmers and business owners have formed the Cannabis Business Council of Santa Barbara County as an education and advocacy organization dedicated to the development of fair cannabis regulations.

Organizers announced the council’s launch Nov. 7, one day before California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalizes the adult recreational use of marijuana and authorizes local governments to regulate and tax its sale.

The council is likely to be involved with the Santa Ynez Valley, where at least one medical marijuana farm is operating and Solvang has banned recreational marijuana with an urgency ordinance until the City Council can develop permanent regulations.

“We’re committed to working with the community to create cannabis regulations that honor Santa Barbara’s agricultural history, support good jobs and economic development and promote public safety and compliance with the law,” said Paul Kowalski, interim chairman of the council.

Among its priorities, the council wants to create a County Cannabis Commission consisting of law enforcement officers, elected officials, public administrators, community leaders and education, health and environmental experts to oversee implementation of Proposition 64 and the medical marijuana act.

The council also wants public meetings to be held soon between elected officials, policymakers, cannabis stakeholders and the community at large to draft new local cannabis regulations.

Organizers want to give cannabis farmers a stronger voice in issues involving labor practices, land and water uses, environmental protection and integrating their operations into local communities.

For more information about the Cannabis Business Council, visit www.cannbizcouncilsb.org.

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