Corporate cannabis is setting a standard in Carpenteria that most old school growers and farmers will not be able to meet… maybe that’s the point
Anyone who grew weed in a basement or a trap house and even a lot of the Prop 215-era dispensaries are familiar with “odor abatement” usually in the form of a massive carbon filter tower in a corner of the room. It was just a cost of doing business in hopes of keeping nosy neighbors from sniffing around too much.
In today’s taxed and regulated cannabis industry, particularly here in California, the cost of running a cannabis business has never been higher due almost solely to… taxes and regulations.
Cannabis producers in Cali are forced to jump through endless hoops, each one with a permit fee or price tag attached in a process that is steadily and ruthlessly weeding out many of the legacy operators who spent decades sowing the seeds for so-called “legalization” only to be bled dry by it in a couple of years or less.
The cost barrier to gain the state’s blessing to grow, process, test, or sell legal weed is already astronomically high but with the emphasis on “local control”, every municipality in California is allowed to impose another layer of taxes and burdensome regulations.
This is exactly what we are seeing in a city called Carpenteria, a long-time agricultural hub on Cali’s central coast.
Those farms and the archaic greenhouses dotting them have been producing fruit, vegetable, and nut crops for a century, but grapevines had become the more lucrative harvest in recent decades.
Notorious for their blatant disregard for the health of the environment around them or of the workers in their rows, the owners of these whine-eries saw cannabis come to town and immediately recognized it as a threat and that’s when the sour grapes really began to drop.
CARPENTERIA COMPROMISE COULD CRIPPLE CALI CANNABIS
Regulated cannabis farms are held to a standard far, far higher than any other form of agriculture.
The oversight from state regulators is strict on cannabis cultivators, especially when it comes to how they treat the environment around them.
Grape growers know that they could never stay in business with that level of scrutiny so the fact that their new neighbors might start asking about their polluting ways was Threat #1.
Threat #2, of course, is that people are ditching booze for buds in record numbers.
Threat #3 is that cannabis farms, in general, pay better wages and offer better incentives to attract labor than grape growing operations do.
So, they started whining and haven’t shut the fuck up since.
Knowing that they didn’t want to even mention anything to do with Threat #1, local wineries began to collectively moan about “skunky” odors wafting over to their swanky properties from the pot farm down the road.
Licensed cannabis farms looking to set their roots in the region agreed to come to the table with their newfound foe and have spent the past two years trying to satisfy them with ever-escalating levels of technology aimed at mitigating or eliminating the rogue aromas from escaping the property.
So dumb… have you ever driven past the Purina dog food plant in Denver? Like within miles of it? Going 60mph on the freeway? With your windows up? I digress…
The most recent compromise was for an automatic vapor system that would spritz a mist of odor-neutralizing liquid into the air being routinely “burped” out of cannabis-packed greenhouses.
Seriously. That’s what weed farmers have had to do just to keep Karen quiet… but now it gets worse.
THERE’S A NEW BOOF IN TOWN
Multi-state operator Cresco Labs was formed in Illinois in 2013 and has grown to encompass 11 states with over 2700 employees and they’ve spent the past two years working to develop a plot of land in Carpenteria to house massive greenhouse cultivation and processing centers.
Allegedly, their bid to break ground was headed toward a NO vote from the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission this week until Cresco submitted a last-minute revision to their proposal for developing the 13.5 acres.
That eleventh-hour revision, apparently, saved their skin and the commission has agreed to vote on the proposal on September 1st when it is expected to gain approval.
Everyone wins, right?
Well, that late change to their pitch deck was the inclusion of a promise to install state-of-the-art carbon-filter air scrubbers to all of their new facilities built on the site – all to appease the phantom whims of the whinos.
This will then be the new precedent, and probably not just in Carpentreria.
How much does each of these “air scrubbers” cost? Not sure. Not cheap though. And that alone will price X number of old school, mom n’ pop, legacy operators out of the game.
So they don’t win, but an MSO like Cresco wins twice.
For the spare change in their corporate couch cushions, they not only get the wine-y neighbors out of the way, but any pesky low-level competitors, too.
As our state faces a glut of unsold cannabis this year and as wholesale prices for those packs dip to embarrassingly low levels isn’t it prudent to ask if we really need someone from Illinois to come and dump thousands of additional pounds of mids into the mix here in California?
Something stinks about all of this.
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