I was thoroughly disappointed to learn that controversial, multi-millionaire winery owner Blair Pence, and a group called the Santa Barbara Citizens for Responsible Cannabis are actually suing the county and a local cannabis farm owner. Absurd and hypocritical. Many of us who voted for ending cannabis prohibition did so because we realized the state could now regulate an industry that had never been regulated, and tax an industry that had never been taxed. All while creating an environment where high quality, honest and hard-working business people could be recognized and rewarded for following the laws, creating good jobs — like the one I have working for a cannabis cultivator — stimulating the economy, giving back to the community and generating new revenue for this state and county that would benefit all Californians — regardless of whether they were for, or against cannabis.
The number of contributions the local cannabis businesses are making is staggering. According to a recent UCSB Cannabis Economic Impact study some of these include; thousands of new, well-paying jobs and literally hundreds of millions of dollars being spent with local businesses like hardware stores, equipment companies, car dealerships, insurance companies, contractors, car dealerships, restaurants, retail stores and on and on. Not to mention, a projected $16.5 million (fiscal years 2018/2019 and 2019/2020) in taxes paid directly to the county and many more millions to the state.
If Mr. Pence and the others associated with the anti-cannabis group would like to see several thousands of county residents out of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars removed from the county economy, and $20-plus million in tax revenue going toward the benefit of everyone living here, then I guess they’re personal interests outweigh the undeniable benefits from this industry we should all appreciate.