Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid title=
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid
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Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem from Pexels

By edhat staff

Brand Farms was expected to be the model for legal cannabis growing in Santa Barbara County until it was raided.

A new article by Joe Mozingo of the Los Angeles Times delves deeper into Barry Brand's marijuana operation and how it ties into botched legislation and approvals by County Supervisors.

Barry Brand, 57, runs Brand Farms LLC in the 5300 block of Foothill Road in Carpinteria. He's part of a Dutch family with eight generations of farming experience. The Brands, and fellow Dutch farmers the Van Wingerdens, are credited for bringing the cut-flower industry to the Carpinteria Valley many years ago. Both families are now growing marijuana in many of their greenhouses, wrote Mozingo.

Brand is described as an influential figure among the small coastal town, donating tens of thousands of dollars to local nonprofits and hosting a variety of fundraisers. He was an initial member of CARP, the Cannabis Association for Responsible Producers, which many of the group's members played a large part in developing local cannabis policy by hiring lobbyists, attorneys, and communication firms. Brand himself contributed $8,000 to County Supervisor Das Williams and $2,000 to County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Then on January 22, the Sheriff’s Office Cannabis Compliance Team, California Department of Food and Agriculture Cal Cannabis, and Department of Fish and Wildlife assisted in a search of Brand's cannabis farm.

The warrant included four parcels, with only one of the parcels having a license for the cultivation and processing of cannabis. Investigators discovered off-book, or black market, marijuana sales and a small volatile extrication lab along with extracted oil, which is outside of the grower’s license and is known to be combustible if produced incorrectly.

Investigators also found 20 pounds of illegally stored cannabis as well as over 1,000 pounds of cannabis crude. That amount of crude oil would be worth between $1.1 million to $1.6 million in California if legally sold wholesale.

Brand was issued a citation for illegal possession of marijuana for sales (misdemeanor) and the Sheriff's Office stated the investigation is ongoing.

Unpermitted items from Brand's farm (Photo: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office)

The raid has shown how local officials and County Supervisors voted to approve cannabis farms for state licensing with very little information on those farms. A tracking system that is supposed to make it difficult for farmers to divert as little as 2% of their product to the black market has been virtually ineffective as the country reportedly does not have access to the state tracking data.

Mozingo breaks down the numbers showing how Santa Barbara County Supervisors, specifically Lavagnino and Williams with help by county executive Dennis Bozanich, created a system rife with loopholes resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars for the county and an overabundance of cannabis farms.

Santa Barbara County was expected to collect between $15 - 22 million annually from the 47 acres of licensed farms at the time consultants ran the numbers in 2018. There are now 275 acres of licensed cannabis farms in Santa Barbara County that have brought in only $9.76 million. 

One of the biggest criticisms of Supervisors is their approval of a 4% tax on gross receipts instead of a tax based on the licensed square footage of the crop. Since the majority of growers only deal in cash and the county does not have access to state tracking data, the tax collector's office is taking growers at their word for how much they've made, wrote Mozingo. 

CARP Growers stated Brand resigned his membership from their organization after the raid.

Read the full article at LAtimes.com.

Related Articles

 January 28, 2020: Carpinteria Man Cited for Unpermitted Cannabis Grow

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62 Comments

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a-1582424125 Feb 15, 2020 07:24 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

The only choice again this election is between ‘bad and worse’. Nothing will change until the 28% No Party Preference moderates in SB South County organize to run and support competent candidates. Simply no choice: look at the lack of talent or absence of skill sets SB City Council.

yin yang Feb 14, 2020 08:27 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Me too. Das was in office when the industry became legal. Of course he's suffering for that! Whoever was in office during this giant political, social and business upheaval would catch hell for how it's handled. I really thought about Capps v Williams because I was part of Capps' original phone survey, before she declared (3 calls over several months so far). I'm sticking with Williams for a range of reasons. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'd like to reiterate that whoever was in office while this upheaval took place would be a pinata /scapegoat for naysayers; a focus for those who question the industry; an industry that will settle and be beneficial. That's just one of the reasons I'm sticking with Das! I won't abandon someone who's shepherded an industry I support.

a-1582424125 Feb 14, 2020 01:45 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Hear, Hear! He's "in bed" with big oil, the developers & everybody else, especially from out of county & even the state when it comes to them wanting to do any & everything they can to make billions in this area of CA. Das has clearly sold himself and the voters know. Shame

a-1582424125 Feb 14, 2020 12:00 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

There was once a law that simply said, "you cannot grow pot". We all knew the consequences if we broke that law. Risk growing it? Go to jail. Now, it's legal But only if you're able to jump through 77 hoops and 142 rules designed to sooth the frustrations of multiple "stakeholders". Ironic that today we've lost the locally grown and gorgeous flowers of love for the numbing and intoxicating kind. Yes, there are many reason rules should be followed. Carp has been turned into an absolute pot house. And I'm sorry for you that think some perimeter air conditioning unit can solve the problem of the egregious stench. It doesn't by a long shot. Drive through there on any cold night at about 9pm when I assume the vents are open. Poor little skunks getting all the blame for a man made mess. This, like so many other issues, was destined to fail once party and political officials made a gigantic mess of it all. Legalizing it for taxes. What a joke. I can't think of anything in history before this was ever conceived purely for the purpose of taxation. So how's that working out? Good people going to jail, raids, law breaking citizens. And all the while the "black market" where weed has always existed. The transaction on "street corners" with buds in a zip lock bag. Well, sales couldn't be better. The biggest problem on the underground is now an over supply of weed.

biguglystick Feb 15, 2020 10:48 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

That's a FACT. Importing flowers from other countries killed the gorgeous flower fields we had. It's also TERRIBLE for the environment to be shipping all that when we could easily grow it here. Sad all around. Although I'm not a user, I'm glad pot is legal now, it just makes sense. Tax the hell out of it! It's revenue.

a-1582424125 Feb 14, 2020 12:42 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

To be clear the flower industry in Carpinteria was in trouble WELL before cannabis was legalized due to being undercut by the flower growers importing from South America. Cannabis is what many of them turned to .

Yeti Feb 14, 2020 11:58 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Yes, government incompetence and tax receipt greed is a huge issue here.. but locally speaking it will be interesting to hear more about the legal issues at hand with Brand Farms. Misdemeanors are a minor issue, BUT growing and selling weed on the black market and illegally producing crude, could be taunting federal law violations. This is the last thing these growers need is for the feds, who still considers weed as a schedule 1 illegal drug, coming in and busting their operations for these alleged violations plus maybe also something like money laundering?? it could be a real hornets nest.. Not to mention this comes after their quickly stitched together their "association" of growers for the purpose of trying to lift the public's perception of their operations, (legitimize, so to speak ) and the damage that this could do to all of this and local pressures from neighbors and citizens. There is a lot at stake here. it will be very interesting to watch.

a-1582424125 Feb 15, 2020 02:05 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

"Government incompetence and tax receipt greed" (Yeti) is driven by the long-standing government employee union corruption of our elections - put favored candidates on both sides of the government bargaining table, and that is what you get in this one party town. Government employee unions ruined things long before pot moved in and played its ugly role. Das knew government employee unions were the hands that fed him - even before he became the darling of the Chumash and pot crowd. Das has proven himself to be nothing more than a greedy opportunist.

a-1582424125 Feb 14, 2020 01:40 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Let the feds come in and check Brand Farms with a magnifying glass. As mentioned earlier, you try to skirt the laws & get caught, too bad. It's time to hitch up the big boy pants, admit it & take your justified licks if guilty. We all know there's plenty of money to pay the fines & plenty of time to do the time.

a-1582424125 Feb 14, 2020 11:56 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

This is an easy one. You cheat, you get caught & you pay the piper. Does it surprise anybody that County Supe "Doobie Brothers" are buds, pun intended, of this person trying to circumvent the laws of the state & county? Come on cannabis grows, you screamed for years to be legit, now play by the rules!

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