Santa Ynez Valley Star, February 18, 2020

The program, “Growing Possibilities,” was organized and sponsored by the EconAlliance, a nonprofit alliance that targets industry, innovation and the workforce in northern Santa Barbara County. Kevin Walthers moderated a panel with representatives from the agriculture, growing/shipping, viticulture and cannabis industries. The panel, titled “Land Use, Water, Housing and Labor,” included John De Friel, CEO of Central Coast Agriculture. Walthers asked panelists to outline future goals. Of the cannabis industry, De Friel noted the challenge of “exiting an illegal market and moving to a legal one.”

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Santa Ynez Valley News Editorial Board

It was clear from the start of the push to legalize cannabis growing and marijuana use that it would be a big, booming industry. But it seems that reality has overtaken expectation, and government agencies are scrambling to meet the demands of both the legal and illegal markets. At the same time, policy makers now own the responsibility of making sure the cannabis industry functions properly and legally, at every level, and pays for itself through taxes and fees. Not a simple assignment, and a task not likely to succeed if local authorities can’t get control of the illegal black market.

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Santa Maria Sun, February 6, 2020

The Sun met with Rotman and Diaz, along with another owner of one of the larger cannabis farms in the Santa Ynez Valley, to talk about how they navigate these challenges and run their respective businesses. As is the case in all industries, different business owners have their own objectives as they carve out their own niches, but there are similarities. The farmers highlight the importance of relying on sound science and data when measuring nutrient levels in the soil or the plant tissue. And this ties into their larger point, that—setting aside the politically charged rhetoric and years of prohibition—cannabis is just another plant being integrated into the county’s robust agricultural industry.

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The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2020

The past decade has been difficult for American cities and states, where tax revenues and public-worker pension funds took massive hits as a result of the 2008 economic crisis. Even when the stock market recovered after the financial crisis, superlow interest rates have also weighed on the pension plans. With recreational cannabis now legal in 11 states, public officials are looking to marijuana tax revenue to help shore up government finances and address funding shortfalls. California local governments collected a total of $1.86 billion in revenue from cannabis sales during calendar year 2018 and nearly as much in the first three quarters of 2019, according to Brea, Calif.,-based HdL Cos., a consultant to local governments and public agencies.

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On Thursday, February 6th join Santa Barbara County farmers to discuss the future of agriculture in Santa Barbara County. Good Farmers Great Neighbors Co-Chair John De Friel, will be a featured panelist in an important discussion on land use, water, housing, and labor.

Learn more and join the conversation.

Santa Maria Times, January 23, 2020

Lisa Plowman, director of the Planning and Development Department, said the staff would put all the issues cited by commissioners and their suggested solutions into a matrix they can discuss and prioritize at their meeting Wednesday, Jan. 29.

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KSBY News, January 22, 2020

“This really comes down to what your practices are. So we freeze everything off the field instead of drying anything on the property, which mitigates any terpene removal. We also grow and breed fruity varieties versus the skunky variety,” said John De Friel with Central Coast Agriculture.

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Cannabis Business Times, January 21, 2020

On Jan. 22, Planning Commissioners have set a special hearing in Santa Maria to review a report from the Ag/Cannabis Stakeholder Working Group and discuss proposed Cannabis Zoning Ordinance Amendments prompted by last year’s planning commission meetings.

Prominent within the proposed amendments are a variety of methods to mitigate odor concerns. Since becoming cannabis farmers, John de Friel and Sara Rotman, co-chairs of Good Farmers Great Neighbors, have worked to dispel common misperceptions around the cannabis plant and have advocated best practices amongst their peers.

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Santa Barbara Independent, January 21, 2020

Our fundamental mission is to develop the highest standards in cannabis cultivation. We also share our passion for sustainable farming, environmental stewardship, and healthy communities. — John De Friel and Sara Rotman co-Chairs of the North County Farmers Guild and Good Farmers Great Neighbors

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Amy Steinfeld and Jack Uciferi

Cannabis—whether you support or oppose it, you certainly can’t avoid this topic. But due to the patchwork of local regulations and its status as a Schedule I drug, there’s still confusion over how cannabis is regulated. This article aims to clarify the regulatory regime governing cannabis farms in Santa Barbara County (“County”). Our hope is that with greater understanding of the cannabis industry’s regulatory burden, there will be greater support for policies that allow legal cannabis cultivators to remain viable vis-à-vis extremely sophisticated black market operators who ignore their regulatory and tax responsibilities. Two years after legalization, it’s increasingly clear that a properly regulated market benefits the public, the environment and consumers. In fact, the County, aided by millions in cannabis taxes, has shut down over 40 black market operations and is using the balance of funds to support local public services.

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