Tuesday afternoon saw the County Administration Building filled with marijuana agriculturists anxiously awaiting news of the new, finalised marijuana law.
Santa Barbara farmers were concerned about the fate of their marijuana farms. On Tuesday afternoon the county spokesmen and supervisors presented debates and came to a decision over the fate and plans for cannabis and cannabis agriculturists, business and weed dispensaries in Santa Barbara.
This particular decision was determined over the course of no less than 27 public hearing and by Tuesday evening, a decision was reached amid the high tensions.
At 7:30pm the vote was revealed. The vote was a 4-1 for cannabis ordinance. This means that each district is allowed a maximum of two retail marijuana dispensaries and this brings the total to eight. In June a tax will be implemented that will generate funding towards policing of marijuana. Other expenses will also be covered.
No outdoor grows are allowed within a 1,500 feet parameter of residential areas or schools. No marijuana dispensary or weed business is allowed in a 750 fee radial zone of any school.
In an effort to lighten to lode of regulations, the supervisors decided to lighten up on licenses for distribution and threw out the proposal for door control on big outside marijuana cultivations.
Many marijuana farmers, agriculturalists and weed dispensaries in Santa Barbara spent Tuesday with their noses buried in maps to figure out how the fate of their weed dispensaries or marijuana grows.
The Santa Barbara area has been successful thus far with issuing licences. The Santa Barbara county has the second highest amount of issued temporary licences since the Golden State opened its gates on the 1st of January for retail marijuana. The legal retail sale of marijuana has opened up a new avenue for prospective businesses and has allowed many local businesses the chance to contribute to the local economy.
There are still many finer details to be ironed out and decided upon. This seems to be just the start to a long strew of legalities.
A marijuana agricultural business in Santa Barbara called Central Coast FarmersMarket Management owns the highest number of licences for small scale cultivation, as reported by the Sacramento Business Journal.
Mana agriculturists and marijuana farmers said on Tuesday that cannabis grows contribute a small amount when compared to the large grows of other agricultural products such as broccoli, grapes (wine grapes), berries and many other types of grows.
The next issue that will no doubt spark some heated debates is how to classify marijuana and the cannabis crops. Different rules, laws and regulations pertain to different classification of crops. The question that will need to be answered is this: “Where does cannabis fit in?”
If cannabis will be classified as an agriculture product then cannabis growers can breathe a little bit lighter. This issue is scheduled to be addressed in arch of this year. If cannabis is not declared to be an agricultural product then this will set off a new stream of debates and regulations. If cannabis is not classified as an agricultural product then some farmers and agriculturalists could face their face being on the wrong side of the law. If cannabis is not declared an agricultural product then the fields of cannabis cannot be grown on more than five acres of land. These limited field sizes could spell trouble for large corporations wanting to get their fingers in the cannabis honey pot however on the other side it could mean a bittersweet success for small and/or local business owners.
If the acre size of agricultural fields are limited then large corporations will be unable to access huge fields of cannabis cultivation and thus a flooding of the market where the small to medium business would be flushed out could be prevented. Corporations could, however, obtain multiple licenses which would allow them to access multiple acres of farm or agricultural land. This could happen with the current loophole unless the lawmakers and voters move to change this. This very loophole was addressed in a lawsuit filed in the beginning of the year.
The decision reached on Tuesday, allowing only eight cannabis dispensaries within Santa Barbara (no mention or regulations of online weed dispensaries in Santa Barbara were made), did not reveal where these eight cannabis dispensaries within Santa Barbara would be exactly.
The decision was met with mixed emotions from lobbyists, farmers and voters alike.