New association endorses Cannabis Tax Measure to raise revenues for enforcement
When Proposition 64 passed at the ballot box in November of 2016, paving the way for the sale and use of recreational marijuana, Carpinterians in ever-increasing numbers began raising questions about the skunky smell, environmental impacts and cultural shifts that the booming industry would bring. The conversion of numerous greenhouses in the Carpinteria Valley from cut flowers to medicinal and adult-use cannabis has been a complex local issue. At present, 30 percent of marijuana cultivation in the county is said to be in the Carpinteria Valley. While the county and city are both grappling with how to regulate state-legalized marijuana commerce, as well as create and enforce local ordinances, including pressing questions of taxes and fees, a group of cannabis growers in the Carpinteria Valley have formed a professional association which, according to their press release, will guarantee that its members follow the rules and conduct business as mindful members of the Carpinteria community.
On May 22, the Cannabis Association for Responsible Producers (CARP Growers) announced their formation as a trade association that will operate under 501c(6) nonprofit status. The organization also launched a new website, carpgrowers.org/.
According to a press release from the association, CARP Growers members will adhere to all state and local rules, other strict environmental guidelines that go beyond regulations and a code of ethics designed to ensure member farmers are at the forefront of compliance and setting best-practices for the emerging industry.
“We want our industry to play a positive role in the community, in the same way our businesses always have,” said Sofie Van Wingerden, CARP Growers member. “When we diversified into cannabis, our plan was and always has been to continue to operate in cooperation with our neighbors.”
Odor abatement has been a top priority among growers joining the association. Membership requires installation of a vapor-phase odor control system along the perimeter of all grow structures. These systems use a biodegradable and nontoxic vapor to neutralize cannabis odors and prevent them from escaping the premises.
According to a statement issued by CARP Growers, the association supports county enforcement of the strict cannabis ordinance and endorses Measure T 2018, the Santa Barbara County Cannabis Tax ballot measure. The measure will appear on the June 5 primary ballot, and if passed by a majority of voters, will tax the cannabis industry, providing additional resources to enforce the county’s comprehensive regulations, including odor control. CARP Growers contends that enforcement measures “will drive out any growers not following the rules designed to protect the community.”
“We are ready to support the county and the community by paying to enforce regulations.” said CARP Growers Director Graham Farrar, owner of Glass House Farms. “If voters approve the measure, the cannabis industry pays for enforcement, not residents.”
CARP Growers member Ivan Van Wingerden stated, “We absolutely want to be well represented as an industry, and part of that is giving back to causes we believe in. At heart, we’re farmers in Carpinteria. We’re connected to this community.”