Greg Gandrud, for many years the effective head of the Santa Barbara County Republican Party and an active member of Concerned Carpinterians, filed a public nuisance complaint against four major cannabis greenhouse operations on Foothill Road last week, charging that the stench of the vapor control systems deployed by the cannabis growers was almost as intrusive as the cannabis odors themselves. The lawsuit was filed within 10 days of the election for 1st District Supervisor, in which cannabis has been the defining issue separating incumbent Das Williams from challenger Laura Capps.
In the complaint, Gandrud, Marllus Gandrud, Paul Ekstrom, and Santa Barbara County Coalition for Responsible Cannabis name four greenhouse operations associated with various members of the Van Wingerden family, well-known in Carpinteria for greenhouse operations dating back 50 years. In legal papers written by attorney Robert Curtis, Gandrud and his husband seek relief “from the awful smells and noxious odors and chemicals that they are being assaulted with on a daily basis.” Gandrud and his husband, Marllus Gandrud, live within 100 feet of the Ever-Bloom greenhouse operated by Ed Van Wingerden and his son, Ivan Van Wingerden. They complained of “a thick, heavy, strong stench,” contending that the chemical soup has worsened Marllus Gandrud’s asthma to such an extent he won’t go out in the couple’s garden anymore. Efforts to sell the home, the complaint alleged, failed because of the proximity to cannabis sites. The lawsuit demands that the growers switch to carbon-filtration air-scrubbing systems instead of the vapor-control system now in place that sprays a mist of citrus-infused terpenes into the air that disarms the odors associated with cannabis.
Ivan Van Wingerden has not responded to requests for comment, but others associated with Carpinteria’s burgeoning cannabis industry have protested that this particular greenhouse is one of the best in the valley and that the odor-control system deployed is very effective. In previous interviews, other neighbors living near the greenhouse have minimized its nuisance impact, stating it did not intrude.
This marks the first private nuisance complaint filed against the cannabis industry. Last summer, the Santa Barbara County supervisors voted to authorize County Counsel Mike Ghizzoni to file nuisance suits against odiferous growers, but to date, no such complaints have been lodged.
Gandrud, a former councilmember from Carpinteria, has endorsed Laura Capps in her bid to unseat Supervisor Williams, who has been the focus of relentless criticism by Concerned Carpinterians for being a champion of the industry at the expense of county residents.
Correction: It is Concerned Carpinterians to which Gandrud belongs, not Coalition for Responsible Cannabis, which with Paul Ekstrom, is a plaintiff in the suit.