My name is Graham Farrar, and I’m a cannabis farmer in Carpinteria Valley. Being part of this community is a privilege that my team takes seriously every day. I grew up in Goleta, and I was an early founding member of Sonos. I’m also a local dad of two young kids. I want to take a moment to set the record straight on a couple important issues, because doing cannabis right is a big deal to us.
Cannabis is the most highly regulated agricultural crop in our county. Period. As growers, we have to secure both local and state licenses and permits, and comply with an endless list of regulatory agencies including the California Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Pesticide Regulation, Bureau of Cannabis Control, Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and Santa Barbara County Public Health, Fire, Sheriff, Agricultural Commissioner, Community Services Sustainability Division, Public Works, Environmental Health and Planning and Development. Securing these sign-offs will take us years. Only those who are committed to doing cannabis right, long term, will make it through the compliance gauntlet. And we support that.
Odor is our top priority. We are committed to being good neighbors and have already installed best available odor control technology. These vapor phase systems work and do not pose health risks. The county has conducted over 30 enforcement actions this year (funded by cannabis tax revenue) including on farms that did not have odor control systems. The county is continuing to shut down operators who aren’t following the rules but can’t actually require operators to have odor control technology until they have gone through the permitting process. So, it’s in everyone’s best interest to see this process through.
Regulated cannabis is much safer than what you were getting a couple years ago. Before voters overwhelmingly passed Prop 64 (67 percent in Santa Barbara County), there was no oversight. Consumers had no idea about the strength or content of the product. You don’t have to worry about that anymore. Cannabis must be tested for 66 different pesticides down to parts per billion. This is significant. Every other product you consume (lettuce, strawberries) has residual pesticides. No other agriculture goes through this level of testing.
Local cannabis is as environmentally friendly as it gets. We recapture and reuse our water, and we don’t use pesticides—instead, we use beneficial insects. This is unprecedented for any other agricultural product. Additionally, Santa Barbara County requires a 15 percent reduction in energy use for all cannabis farms.
Cannabis, done right, preserves the agricultural character of Carpinteria. Absent cannabis growers’ utilization of pre-existing greenhouse infrastructure, these properties would be very attractive to developers. It’s also important to recognize that we are not proposing any new development, another reason why we are a low impact crop change for the area.
We have a unique opportunity to fulfill the will of you, the voters, by providing access to safe, locally and responsibly grown, legal cannabis. We are dedicated to doing this the right way, by stimulating our local economy, being respectful of our community, and also keeping Carpinteria in sustainable farming, as it has been for generations.