County Weed Tax Revenue Goes Higher

Pot tax revenue is growing strong in Santa Barbara County. 

In the 2018-19 fourth fiscal quarter ended June 30, cannabis tax revenue in the county increased 60 percent to $2.3 million compared to the two previous quarters, the Board of Supervisors was told Oct. 2. 

And, 154 county cannabis businesses submitted permit applications to the county as the end of the quarter. By that date, 11 land-use and two coastal development permits were issued. 

Thirty-six cannabis companies generated a total of $6.9 during the 2018-19 fiscal year. That’s $1.2 million more than expected, county officials said in a report to the board. 

Most of that revenue is used for illegal cannabis raids. The multi-departmental county Sheriff’s Cannabis Enforcement Team conducted 12 raids on illegal cannabis operations in the fourth quarter. 

The county report said the raids eradicated 471,000 plants valued at $118 million on the street. The raids reaped 50,000 pounds of processed pot worth some $50 million. 

The Planning and Development Department staff went to 99 odor-related complaints during the fourth quarter. Of the 31 enforcement cases, 17 were odor complaints. Many complaints were about buildings and cultivation that lacked permits. 

County officials reported six of the land-use permits and both coastal development permits issued were appealed prior to being granted. 

One appeal of a coastal development permit was denied by the county Planning Commission and later was heard by the Board of Supervisors meeting. That also was denied. 

By the end of the fourth quarter, 27 applications for conditional-use permits had been received. None had been issued.

Posted Oct. 3, 2019.

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