US (CA): From tech geek to Santa Barbara cannabis grower

Graham Farrar might have been the classic all-American boy next door, the hardworking kid who mowed neighbors’ lawns in the afternoon and delivered their newspapers in the morning. He might even have grown up to become the doctor that both he and his parents thought he would.

Instead, Farrar ​— ​Goleta boy turned longtime Mesa resident ​— ​woke up this week to find himself sitting on top of the world. Ever since California voters approved the total legalization of cannabis in 2016, Farrar has been the most positive public face of Santa Barbara’s exploding industry.

Right now, Farrar is opening the first walk-in recreational cannabis dispensary in the City of Santa Barbara. Dubbed The Farmacy, it’s located near the intersection of Mission and De la Vina streets, next to Derf’s burgers, in the building where the city’s first and last video rental shop once operated. Standing in the parking lot, Farrar is delighting in the details: the red tiles, the wrought ironworks, the copper gutters. Less delightful are the bulletproof windows, the motion sensors, and the 18 security cameras. But finally it’s all come together. Though the city has issued two other recreational cannabis operations with retail permits, Farrar’s is the first one out of the gate. 

This same week, Farrar survived an attempt by a formidable cadre of countywide cannabis critics to stop him from transforming a 350,000-square-foot Carpinteria flower greenhouse into a cannabis operation. But the County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this Tuesday to uphold the project and deny an appeal by Carpinteria neighborhood activists upset about odors and possible health impacts (see News of the Week on page 9 for details). That vote should help, as should the 4-1 vote by the county’s Planning Commission in June. This would be Farrar’s second Carpinteria greenhouse. He’s already got a 150,000-square-foot greenhouse operating under the trade name Glass House Farms. Together he would have half a million square feet of cannabis plants under nonstop — nearly five harvests a year —  climate-controlled cultivation.


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