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US (CA): Santa Barbara County reports declining cannabis tax revenue

Santa Barbara grows more weed than any county in the state, making up 22% of all active cannabis cultivation licenses issued by the California government.

Since Santa Barbara County imposed its cannabis operations tax in 2018, the program has generated over $50 million in government revenue since its inception.

This year, the county is projecting an estimated $7.5 million in cannabis tax revenue, down 54% from the year prior and sufficiently less than the $15.2 million projected in its adopted budget, according to a preliminary budget workshop document prepared by the county’s budget director.

“This revenue update is a wakeup call for changes,” Second District Supervisor Laura Capps said at the March 14 Board of Supervisors meeting. “We should take a look at how to do things better.”

In the first year of the program, the county generated $6.76 million in revenue, a number that rose to $12.18 million for the 2019-20 fiscal year and reached a high point of $15.75 million in tax revenue. Since then, the program experienced year-on-year declines in tax income.


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