The $5.5 million is more than double the $2.3 million in cannabis taxes the county collected in the fourth quarter of the 2018-19 fiscal year, when revenues for all four quarters totaled $6.7 million.

In all, cannabis operators paid $12.2 million in taxes for the 2019-20 fiscal year, or nearly double the previous fiscal year’s total, according to the report.

Santa Barbara County is still listed as having the second-highest number of state licenses at 1,133 and cultivated acres at 297.2 in California, according to a staff presentation.

The unincorporated area around Lompoc leads the county with 434 state cultivation licenses, followed by the Santa Ynez Valley with 421. Santa Maria Valley has 79 state cultivation licenses, and Cuyama Valley has 28.

Remaining state licenses are held in the Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria areas.

Lompoc also leads the county with the most state-licensed acreage under active cultivation at 104.6, with Santa Ynez Valley in second with 97.1. Santa Maria Valley has 19.7 acres under cultivation, and Cuyama Valley has 6.7.

COVID hits enforcement

While tax revenues were up, restrictions from the COVID-19 response as well as protests related to national events drew away resources and put a damper on enforcement actions, the report says.

Although short-staffed, the enforcement team still conducted six operations in the unincorporated areas of Santa Maria, New Cuyama and Santa Barbara.

“Furthermore, the team also took part in stopping a maritime smuggling operation, where thousands of pounds of cannabis were being smuggled into the county from Mexico, for the purposes of saturating the illicit black market,” the report says.


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