An Ag Revival

It’s short-sighted to fret over cannabis farming in Carpinteria. I get that it’s new, and there’s a whole century worth of reefer-madness stigmatization to overcome.

Looking beyond the knee-jerk anti-cannabis fervor, I see an ag revival in Carpinteria Valley. Flower farming was big business until international trade opened up and made it impossible to compete.

In cannabis, our farmers (the best farmers in the state!) only compete within the state for market share. Lois Capps once labeled Carpinteria Valley “America’s Flower Basket.” We were proud. I’m prouder now than ever.

Greenhouse properties are being improved in our farm belt. Thousands of employees get better pay in cannabis than other parts of the ag sector, and they work in environments free from dangerous chemicals. There’s a whole web of industries that benefit from the ag boom. My restaurant and catering company, The Food Liaison, included.

The county collected $6.7 million in direct cannabis tax revenue last year, and who knows what other taxes are a direct result of cannabis. Increased sales across all local businesses. Property values at farms are being reassessed and the increased values will trickle directly to our local school district. These various revenue streams represent shared public benefits that I’d hate to see disappear — for everyone’s sake.

Where’s the downside? As a community member, I will continue to advocate for responsible farming and less finger pointing. Let’s call for a holiday truce on misinformation and divisive attacks.

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