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Cannabis farming has been a huge boost to my local business. As a small, local restaurant in Carpinteria, I’ve seen the benefits of the cannabis industry on our economy first-hand. The cannabis farmers and their employees visit our restaurant for meals frequently, and the benefits of this new industry cannot be understated.
UCSB Economic Forecast Project found that the total economic impact of the cannabis industry is $458.3 million and has a total impact on employment of 6,012 jobs. Because this new sector is so highly regulated, the farmers have to expand their workforce, and contractors, to keep up with regulations. This means hiring (and feeding!) a lot more people.
These farmers are also paying high taxes at both the state and local level, which is bringing in millions of dollars of revenues for critically needed county services. In fact, they have contributed over $9 million of revenue to the county so far. This means that the county doesn’t have to rely on revenue from oil projects, or other development, to fund their programs.
Since cannabis is a more lucrative agricultural crop (compared to other types of flowers), local farmers can also afford to pay their employees above minimum wage, provide health benefits, paid time off, and 401k retirement plans. This is huge for agricultural workers, their families, and our local economy.
Carpinteria has always been an agricultural, farming community. And I am glad that the newest crop in our greenhouses is cannabis.