I saw last week in Coastal View News that local cannabis farmers are giving $189,000 to our school district to provide mental health support at Carpinteria Middle School (“Cannabis growers pledge…,” Vol. 25, No. 50). That is $189,000 that our schools didn’t have before.
Education seems to be an afterthought when it comes to funding, and our schools seem to go through never-ending budget cuts. Public schools are always strapped for cash and shedding personnel. I would like to give a personal thank you to CARP Growers for a willingness to pitch in. Of course, cannabis farming has been an issue of debate locally. I think what we are seeing is that local farmers took a risk to farm a crop that carries with it a century-old stigma but provides a great opportunity for local business. The school district decided that taking money that carries some political baggage is worth it for the schools and students. Really though, if cannabis is grown locally, then cannabis money is already supporting our schools through property taxes paid by the farms.
Hundreds of students in our schools have parents who work on cannabis farms and make more money than they did in other ag jobs. It would be a double standard to think that it’s OK for a liquor store to be across from the middle school, but somehow find it taboo for cannabis farming to be allowed locally, in the same places where flowers have grown for generations.