Santa Barbara County is what it is today thanks to agriculture. From avocados and flowers in Carpinteria, to vegetables in the north and wine in the Santa Ynez Valley, agriculture is foundational to our culture and history.
Over the years, North County farmers have responded to market forces, moving from lemons to avocados and in recent history adding flowers and grapes. The freedom to grow what is demanded and profitable is why our county has enjoyed agriculture and the open space it provides.
Yet today, higher water and labor costs, combined with lower crop prices due to international competition, have put many of our farmers under great pressure to sell their land to developers. That is why cannabis has become a popular option for many farmers, new and established.
A preliminary economic study conducted by UCSB, concluded that at present legal cannabis farms cultivate 156 acres of land in Santa Barbara County and provide 2,458 jobs at an average annual wage of $65,000. Through direct purchases they have contributed an additional $122.5 million to the local economy just in 2018, supporting an additional 2,400 jobs across a number of industries in the county.