Interestingly, California’s largest marijuana grower is not located in the fertile Green Triangle (a name for the territory in the Golden State with an environment suitable for pot growth) or in Coachella Valley (where clusters of indoor farms have surfaced). In fact, the Pacific powerhouse’s largest cultivator of marijuana is located (of all places) in Santa Barbara County, a place best known for Spanish missions, coastal homes, and overly elite lifestyles. As the marijuana debate continues to plow through our country with surprising success, we should not be shocked that one of the top-notch regions in Cali is accepting the fragrant herb into its extravagant environment. While we are aware of wine allocations in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, Santa Barbara Country actually ranks as the #1 location for issuing commercial permits for pot growth. So why has this superpower county accepted the little green herb? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
A Matter of Politics
So how did cannabis farming gain the upper hand in this elite county? Based on recent events in the area, researchers claim that the political environment was a huge factor behind acceptance. In fact, in 2017, Santa Barbara County supervisors approved licenses with no caps on acreage or limits overall for individual farmers. In summer 2018, 75% of voters approved Measure T, which issued a gross receipts tax of 4% on any form of commercial pot farming. At the same time, state and local rules now permit the Central Coast Agriculture to stockpile 89 permits under the category of “small cultivation” (totaling 890,000 square feet/20.4 acres).
More Jobs, More Support
Unsurprisingly, though, one of the biggest factors behind Santa Barbara County’s support has been the influx of jobs. After the passage of Proposition 64, County Supervisor Das Williams (who vocally opposed this piece of legislation pre-election) funded the creation of a marijuana sector controlled by the local government. For its 2018-2019 fiscal year, Santa Barbara County expects $5.8 million in marijuana income, and an estimated $3.5 million in cannabis taxes have opened the floodgates for 22 positions in local law enforcement.
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