A beachside city became California’s legal cannabis capital. Not everyone is stoked

Santa Barbara voters hoped for an economic boost, but a coalition of schools, rich homeowners and the wine industry are no longer feeling the buzz
The Guardian (UK)
Thursday, August 3, 2023

us cannabis greenhouses santa barbaraThanks to the most lenient policies in California for recreational marijuana, Santa Barbara county is now the state’s undisputed capital of legal cannabis, boasting more acres than each of the the storied Emerald Triangle counties of Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino. Santa Barbara voters overwhelmingly backed California’s legalisation of recreational marijuana in 2016, with hopes that the cannabis boom would bring tax revenue and new jobs to the county. The transformation has been fast and furious. Santa Barbara county is now home to around a third of all cultivation licenses issued in California, despite making up only 1.8% of the state’s land, with some megafarms stretching over dozens of acres.