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US (CA): Amid cannabis glut, licensed growers are pulling out of Santa Barbara County

In a sign of the economic times, four growers who had obtained zoning permit approvals to plant 163 acres of outdoor cannabis in the North County recently withdrew their applications for business licenses, effectively abandoning their operations, county officials said.

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino of Santa Maria brought up the withdrawals at an April 21 budget hearing as the board wrestled with the ongoing decline in cannabis tax revenues.

The supervisors discussed various formulas that might shore up revenues, even as they acknowledged that higher taxes could force out more growers.

“I want to see us come up with something that’s fair, just, and predictable, as much as we can,” said Lavagnino, a chief architect of the county’s 2018 cannabis ordinance. “We’re in a downturn, no doubt, and we’ve got to weather it.” The prices for wholesale cannabis flower in California have plunged by half from their peak of $1,400 in 2020 to about $660 per pound now.


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