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High Times in Santa Barbara

John Rowland

Posted on July 7, 2019 15:59

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As various government authorities seek sources of greater revenue, history seems to be somewhat repeating itself. Call it the end of Prohibition 2.0.

The U.S. government has meddled in the issue of drugs (illicit and otherwise) for a very long time, including the period between 1920-1933 when there was a total ban on alcohol, otherwise known as Prohibition.

As wrongheaded as the proponents of Prohibition may have been at the time with respect to the principles of federalism, they at least forwarded their agenda in a respectable way: through Constitutional amendment.

But as the central bank-induced Great Depression (and the associated reductions in public tax revenues) took its fiscal toll on the nation, governments realized the need for the revenue streams that alcohol commerce could generate; money over morality. So in 1933, Prohibition was repealed with the implementation of the Twenty-First Amendment.

The modern context of the insane "War on Drugs" notwithstanding, cannabis (marijuana) has nevertheless managed to become increasingly legalized. Various revenue-hungry public authorities of today have been seeing dollar signs with respect to this liberalization.

Playing the role of national trendsetter yet again, California has (for better or worse) taken center stage. While cannabis has long been a part of the Humboldt County culture (legalities aside) in northern California, Santa Barbara County now wants in on the action- big time.

As the Los Angeles Times describes things, the county of Santa Barbara has "opened the door," becoming home to "the world's largest pot farms." These are no mom-and-pop stony operations either; rather, they're replete with the glorious efficiencies of mass economies of scale: one enterprise will entail "greenhouses over 147 acres" (130 football fields) to create "the largest legal marijuana grow on earth."

source: MSN

In terms of the politics of pot, several Santa Barbara County supervisors were sweet-talked by grower representatives into providing favorable incentives for the young industry. On the revenue side of things, the taxing authorities decided "to tax the [growers] operations based on gross revenue instead of licensed square footage." Consequently, the county has only "received a fraction" of the rosy estimates made by the slick consultants.

Look for this financial arrangement to change as things move forward in the wild west of weed.

John Rowland

Posted on July 7, 2019 15:59

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