The ever-changing cannabis laws in Santa Barbara are proving difficult to keep up with. The back and forth regulations are causing most young and aspiring businesses to spin faster than a strong sativa but there the horizon is in sight.
The lawmakers of Santa Barbara seem to be finding final decisions after a year of drafting final regulations regarding the governing of the cannabis industry and all the elements that go into the supply chain. There are many factors to consider: the concerns of the concerned conservative citizens was well as the eager businessmen and women frothing to get a head start in this new green and promising industry. The tax revenue of the industry is set to rake in big amounts and heal the hurt economy, offering relief to the cash strapped county men.
It comes as no surprise then that the lawmakers of Santa Barbara took time to find the perfect regulations to satisfy both the concerned neighbours and the eager young businesses while still ensuring the tax revenue satisfies the pockets. Whose pockets you ask? Well, time will tell.
The pivotal question for the city’s eager cannabis consumers is where exactly will the weed be? There have been a fair amount of differing proposed regulations that have left all sides of the neighbourhood and industry biting at the bit. The S.B Council has voted to all a total of 3 retail cannabis stores. These stores are not allowed within six hundred feet of any youth centre or schools. Additionally, these stores need to have security guards on duty in the store. If you are a business opportunist looking to open a manufacturing lab, then your lab will be confined to the Eastside of the city. And those who were holding out for an Amsterdam themed Santa Barbara, you can let those hopes sail away. Cannabis smoking lounges have been voted out and banned by the City Council. The city has banned smoking tobacco in public places for some time already and marijuana is also declared illegal to smoke in public.
An important topic for many in the Santa Barbara area is the question of marijuana farming. Farming is the region’s number one income and industry and the marijuana farming industry holds a huge potential for the county if it is regulated correctly and fairly. In the whole of California this county, Santa Barbara, holds the highest number of temporary licenses for marijuana growing. It has also been showing that there are many more traditional agricultural farmers that are aware of the potential income from the cannabis industry and are either switching from more traditional agriculture to cannabis. This is most evident in Carpintera. Carpinteria has traditionally grown flowers and was at one time the head of the cut flower industry. However this industry has been witnessing a steady decline in recent years due to the strong odour produced by this type of cultivation and the light pollution caused at night. This industry faced almost thirty (28 in total) public hearings in 2017 and the supervisors for the county then proceeded to place a ban on all outdoor cut flower cultivations that are within a 1,500 foot radius of any school or residential area.
Marijuana businesses are only banned within a 750 foot radius of schools while cultivation and agricultural nurseries and farms are not allowed within 600 feet of schools. The county has since allowed an additional 8 cannabis storefronts to operate in the ‘unincorporated’ zones of the Santa Barbara county.
In November 2017, The Santa Barbara City Council voted in a total of five recreational marijuana stores. There are still three proposed medical marijuana dispensaries within the city that are awaiting approval but these three have been caught up in regulations for a good few years already. Could the recreational storefronts fall into a similar fate? Presently the constant changing and revisiting of regulations do point the recreational marijuana in that same direction. However perhaps with the high tax prospect city councilmen and lawmakers will be more eager to reach a final decision. In November last the council was faced with tough opposition to the allowance of marijuana into the county. However they did relax certain requirements and they even voted to have the wholesale cannabis industry to operate without a limit as to the number of wholesale operations. In addition to these regulations, the county declared that residents were allowed to legally be in the possession of five indoor growing cannabis plants and one outdoor cannabis plant.
This patchwork of regulations are still under construction and even though the councilmen are promising that the final stages are in progress, I wouldn’t hold my breath.