The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office completed two separate busts last week involving the allegedly illegal manufacture of cannabis and cannabis products, where both operations lacked proper licenses.
The first raid concluded a four-month investigation into Power Farms LLC, a grower near the Carpinteria area. According to officials, one of the owners had provided false information during the county licensing process and “failed to show proper shipping and manifest procedures.” At the owner’s Los Angeles home, authorities seized several unregistered firearms, 60 pounds of packaged cannabis, and large amounts of cash. They also removed and destroyed approximately 22,420 cannabis plants from multiple greenhouses at the Power Farms location, and 1,420 pounds of dried cannabis.
The second raid took place on January 22 at a Santa Ynez residence following neighborhood complaints. During the investigation, authorities discovered that medical marijuana users were “selling and possessing marijuana and manufacturing marijuana oils and concentrates far above their legal limits and without the required licensing.” They also determined that a three-year-old at the residence was possibly exposed to cannabis products, including smoke and edibles. The child was taken to the hospital for evaluation. From the residence, authorities seized approximately 100 pounds of processed cannabis, 76 pounds of cannabis oils and extracts, and 60 pounds of suspected cannabis edible candies.
The two busts come amidst intense debate within Santa Barbara County surrounding cannabis production. Citing unpleasant odors, property value impacts, and concern over crime, many residents are pushing for stronger licensing regulations since the legalization of recreational cannabis and the sudden emergence of numerous cultivation sites. On the other hand, those in the industry argue that existing regulations are sufficiently strict and exceedingly expensive. They say to obtain all the necessary permits can cost upwards of $200,000.