Lompoc Record, March 3, 2021

General revenues that exceeded those expected when the budget was crafted last year include secured property taxes by more than $3.5 million, cannabis taxes by nearly $3.4 million, property transfer taxes by almost $2.5 million and sales taxes by more than $1.7 million.

“Cannabis has saved public services,” said 1st District Supervisor Das Williams, who said the county’s financial experience this year is “wildly different” from that of other jurisdictions.

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Santa Barbara Independent, February 16, 2021

…Raw Garden focuses primarily on the products themselves rather than marketing hype or shiny packaging. “Lifestyle brands are great and definitely something that’s tangible for a lot of companies,” said Al-Naser. “But when we’re talking about normalization, being able to highlight the product, the inputs, the process, and the practices that go into making that, that helps consumer confidence.”

“If you’re making medicine for little sick girls and old ladies, which is where our genesis comes from, you don’t want to be boastful or bragging about how cool your stuff is,” he explained. “We really try not to pound our chests too hard about anything. I think that detracts from the product, which should be the main focus.”

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Lompoc Record, January 13, 2021

A cannabis cultivation operation on Santa Rosa Road near Buellton received a conditional use permit and development plan Jan. 13 with the unanimous approval of the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission after the company twice revised its odor control plan to address public and commission concerns.

Central Coast Agriculture has been operating the cultivation operation since before Jan. 19, 2016, and applied for the CUP and development plan to make the operation on the 68.19-acre parcel at 8701 Santa Rosa Road compliant with county ordinances.

The approval came after three hearings on the project and multiple revisions to the odor abatement plan, but some members of the public still objected to the odor plan and asked for more changes.

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Forbes, December 17, 2020

Raw Garden boasts over 2,000 cultivars grown on 85 acres of land in the lush Santa Barbara County. If you ask its CEO and co-founder John De Friel, Raw Garden’s ideology is farm-first.

It balances both realities, proving how cannabis brands can be a well-oiled agricultural machine that stays “small,” that is to say, humbled by its roots in the medical community and the need for accessibility.

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Santa Barbara Independent, October 21, 2020

Judge Thomas Anderle rejected a lawsuit filed by the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis that challenged the adequacy of the environmental review conducted as part of the County of Santa Barbara’s controversial new hoop-house ordinance, passed by the Board of Supervisors last year.

Traditionally, hoop houses have escaped the scrutiny of county environmental review on the grounds that they are agricultural implements and ag is generally exempt. But in recent years, the county has seen a significant proliferation of hoop houses — not just more, but bigger, too — fueled by an increase in berry production as well as cannabis cultivation.

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Santa Barbara News Press, October 6, 2020

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is expected to deny an appeal filed against Castlerock Family Farms’ land-use permit application for cultivating 23 acres of cannabis in the Santa Ynez Valley.

According to the board letter for today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, county staff recommends the appeal filed by the Santa Barbara County Coalition for Responsible Cannabis be rejected on grounds that none of the issues it raises are of merit.

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Santa Maria Times, August 29, 2020

“Since the stay-at-home mandate was imposed, the cannabis industry has experienced a sharp increase in consumer demand at the retail level, which in turn impacts the supply chain, creating an increased demand for product supplied by growers,” says the report, authored by fiscal and policy analysts Reese Ellestad and Steven Yee.

“Additionally, new operators are successfully navigating the county’s and state’s regulatory processes, and are therefore entering the market, thus generating new sales and new tax revenue,” the report says.

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Bloomberg,  July 19, 2020

Cannabis farmers and cannabis businesses, we don’t have access to unemployment, small business loans. We don’t have access to any of the rescue money that came for other businesses that were struggling so there’s no safety net for our business. — Sara Rotman, Wellfounded Botanicals

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Green Entrepreneur,  July 7, 2020

We are very fortunate in Santa Barbara. When they first drafted the ordinance, they allowed us to consider ourselves from an agricultural scale perspective. But even with that, we have a structure in our county where the appeal process is forgiving for any opponent and extremely arduous for someone to make it through. And it is possible for someone to bankrupt a small independent farmer in order to prevent them from coming online in a fully compliant way.

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Santa Barbara Independent,  July 2, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Santa Barbara County’s agro women forged ahead, adjusting their approaches to reflect a fast-changing crisis much like their predecessors had done almost four decades earlier. Farmers with wildly diverse productions described similar challenges or sources of inspiration: agricultural teachings to help fuel the industry for generations to come.

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