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The elephant in the room in the 1st District supervisor’s race is cannabis. Das Williams had not endorsed or even voted for Prop. 64 and would have preferred a state-run system.
When California legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, it fell to the supervisors to tax and regulate the new industry. Das rolled up his sleeves and got to work, bringing his collaborative skills and legislative experience to benefit the South Coast. The supervisors, in bipartisan fashion, hammered out ordinances to handle the industry from the ground up — agriculture, processing, and sales. And passed them on a 4-1 vote. Das was a leader from the outset, crafting strict but fair regulations.
The Carpinteria Valley’s languishing flower farms were literally fertile ground for the new businesses. Indeed cannabis tax has generated more county revenue than expected — $2.86 million in the last quarter alone. The county coffers went from deficit to surplus, which enabled the county to pick up the shortfall on three libraries. The revenue also funds the inspection of the cannabis industry as well as policing illegal growers.
Das Williams has worked hard on the board to regulate this new form of agri-business. Anyone who knows Das, as I have for over a decade, knows that principles, not self-interest, determine his choices and his votes. Anyone who has paid attention to his career in public service knows that the environment, education and public welfare are paramount to Das. It’s no different now with the cannabis business.