Cannabis growers are swooping in to buy warehouse space in Lompoc. “I get multiple calls a week,” said realtor Tom Davidson. He recently brokered the sale of an 18,000-square-foot warehouse for $1.5 million. A 50,000-square-foot building recently sold for $3.1 million. Another is in escrow and is expected to close next week. Several other warehouses are on the market. “It’s probably the hottest thing that happened for Lompoc since the Space Shuttle,” said City Councilmember Jim Mosby.
The Lompoc City Council adopted a cannabis ordinance considered favorable to the industry: There is no limit on the number of retail storefronts allowed within city limits. Amsterdam-like lounges, rare in California, are permitted. And councilmembers recently sweetened the deal by refraining from levying city taxes on cannabis businesses. Joe Garcia, president of the Lompoc Valley Cannabis Coalition, estimated that as many as 500 new jobs will be created in Lompoc. But there is a finite number of properties where growing or extracting operations can take place. “If there are 100 people who want to go there, there are not 100 different locations,” Davidson said of warehouse space in the city of 42,000 people.
While Lompoc has a tradition of conservative values, a majority of councilmembers has a libertarian attitude toward cannabis. In contrast, nearby Santa Maria banned all cannabis businesses. Davidson estimated that more than $20 million in agriculture properties sold last year went to cannabis growers west of Highway 101. Though that is not in the city limits, they are going to need a place to sell the product.