Data keeps rolling in, and the numbers tell a compelling story. Cannabis has been a lifeline for local farmers and the local ag economy. Carpinteria was once labeled “America’s Flower Basket.” Carpinteria Valley was flower-farming central, but free trade agreements pushed flower farming offshore to South America.
Resilient farmers adapt to the times by planting new crops. The legalization of cannabis provided an opportunity to grow a crop that can only be grown and sold in California.
As far as ag jobs go, cannabis pays better, provides stable year-round employment and is free from dangerous chemicals. Word on the street is that if ag workers aren’t employed in cannabis, they want to be. In Carpinteria Valley alone, cannabis employs over 1,000.
Tax revenue from cannabis has been an added benefit. In the 2018/19 fiscal year, Santa Barbara County collected $6.7 million from cannabis taxes alone. Reports from this fiscal year show taxes are climbing and exceeding projections.
Taxes are an important component to why voters approved legal cannabis. Instead of spending money locking people up for possession, the county is collecting money. Funds go into roads, libraries and critical services.
Part of the county permitting process is reassessing property values at cannabis farms. Values are going up across the board, which leads to larger tax receipts to the county. Half of all local property taxes in Carpinteria Valley go directly to the Carpinteria Unified School District.