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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61 Comments

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a-1581710166 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!

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-1581716458 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-1581804303 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-1581710417 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.

a-1581712975 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 .

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.

CoastWatch Feb 14, 2020 12:31 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

...and WHO wants to vote for DAS Williams...? The GREEDIEST and most SELF-SERVING career politician in the County... He's shameless, whether it's the Pot Grower or the Chumash.

a-1581716744 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

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-1581780298 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.

2contango Feb 14, 2020 01:04 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

It's sad to see the Sierra Club has endorsed a candidate who has turned a blind eye to big cannabis growers who spew foul smelling fumes into our air and illegally produce dangerously volatile cannabis oil. It has become an organization I can no longer support.

a-1581715010 Feb 14, 2020 01:16 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

So easy when it comes to cannabis to heap on the ugliness in left field comments. This thread is all War on Drugs stuff. A guy doing business in a newly legal market did something bone headed and is paying the price. It's not everything cannabis under the sun. Legal cannabis is good business for farmers and the local economy right now. Do it right or face the consequences. One wonders what this anti-cannabis energy could be better spent on.

midair Feb 14, 2020 01:46 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Just more reefer madness BS from the nanny state. Any ridiculous rules on growing broccoli? No. Treat cannabis as any other agricultural product and drop these ridiculous rules that no one can keep track off.

a-1581716800 Feb 14, 2020 01:46 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Weed growing in Santa Barbara county will eventually go bankrupt. Operating costs are high here including: real estate, labor, taxes, electricity, water, etc. Weed can be easily grown in any location. In the long run demand for this drug will be supplied by giant grows in places with low operating costs.

a-1581717187 Feb 14, 2020 01:53 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Spare us, 7004! They were legally farming only ONE of four parcels! "The warrant included four parcels, with only one of the parcels having a license for the cultivation and processing of cannabis." along with black market dealings, etc. Come on and get real and read the entire article.

DBD Feb 14, 2020 04:30 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

One property can be multiple parcels(APN's) especially in Ag. The property owner and business entities(LLC's, LLP's, etc) are normally all registered to one APN, I don't think this is as malicious as it sounds, especially for someone who toured officials and locals alike. Can't really hide something like that when they are on your property.

a-1581720909 Feb 14, 2020 02:55 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Did we SB citizens ever think for a second that the pot farmers were going to be on the up and up and pay their fair share? Come on now, this isn't Mars; it's the drug world only semi-legal in the eyes of the state. Fortunately, there are so many getting in on the instant ride to millionaire status that the floor is quickly dropping out of the business. Just read what's going on everywhere else it's "legal." Prices are dropping like rats jumping off a burning ship in CO, Canada, everywhere!

a-1581718196 Feb 14, 2020 02:09 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Illegal pot confiscated in the past 18 months totaled $294 million yet licensed growers reported only $167 million in legal revenue in the last fiscal year to the county. Also Dennis Bozanich now works in Contra Costa County and one of the lobbyist firms who helped craft the SB County ordinance changed their name when the heat got too much. They continue to work representing CARP and Barry until his raid.

Carplocal Feb 14, 2020 04:24 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

As a Carpenteria local and parent, I don't understand this controversy. It's sad that we are letting some Washington DC elites and their crony reporters spread lies and hate in an attempt to divide our community, and get us to vote against our best interests. Here are a few facts we should all remember in all this nonsense:
1. The cut flower industry was dead long before cannabis came to Carpenteria. Cannabis saved our local farmers and agriculture industry.
2. Cannabis has created over 6000 jobs in our community.
3. Cannabis has generated over 450 million dollars for local businesses.
4. Cannabis tax money collected goes to support our public institutions like police, fire, and schools.
5. CARP growers has donated hundreds of thousands to our local schools and services.
6. Cannabis uses no harmful pesticides. As a parent i dont want them spraying known carcinogens around my children.
7. Property values are up in Carp.
8. Hotel occupancy in Carp is higher then it's ever been.
Why would any of us vote against all those points??!! Every business owner and land owner in Carp will tell you Cannabis is good for them and their business.
The people who will tell you its bad are the rich who don't care about our local economy or those who want to get rid of agriculture so they can develop our small town, turning it into Manahattan Beach, and bringing with it all the traffic, pollution, and crime that come with development.
As a parent, I'm grateful for the cannabis industry and the necessary dollars the industry has generated for our local schools and businesses. Don't let these rich Washington politicians trick us to vote for their interests, and against our interests by spreading their lies. If we get rid of cannabis we are taking millions of dollars out of the local economy and opening the door for developers to ruin Carpenteria's small town charm.
We should be thanking Das and the other supervisors for saving Carpenteria, and keeping it the safe small town we all love, rather then vilifying them for it.

a-1581729148 Feb 14, 2020 05:12 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

What a seriously great comment!! There are so many positives, and negatives add up to a whine about the smell. Thanks for laying out all these great points.

a-1581735473 Feb 14, 2020 06:57 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

CARPLOCAL- These issues have nothing to do with Washington Elites or “rich” people. Development isn’t the only thing that brings Traffic, pollution and crime, it comes with cannabis operations too. Regular people are being seriously impacted by this flawed process and ordinance. Plus your Favorable statements are based on operators actually following the law. ~~~~~~~~
“ Cannabis has created over 6000 jobs in our community.“ Really 6000? That’s a lot of traffic for a town with a population of 13,000. How are those 6000 new workers getting to work and how are they being paid? ~~~~~~~~~~~
“ Cannabis has generated over 450 million dollars for local businesses. “ Where did you get this number? That’s a completely unfounded vague statement. ~~~~~~~~~~
“Cannabis tax money collected goes to support our public institutions like police, fire, and schools” You mean from those who Actually pay their taxes and report their sales? Nearly all Cannabis tax money is going to enforce this ordinance. Between the extra employees needed in the planning dept and sheriffs office this ordinance will probably end up costing taxpayers more than it’s worth.

a-1581747815 Feb 14, 2020 10:23 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Thank you for your comment. I’ll be glad when the election is over and Das has retained his seat. Capps is a one issue candidate trading on her last name with far less experience than Das. She is running a totally negative campaign. I’m surprised her mother supports it. I bet her father wouldn’t support the negativity, were he alive. Das has a long career of passing many good laws. His values are my values and I will stay loyal to him through this smear campaign.

a-1581783220 Feb 15, 2020 08:13 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

I doubt that CARPLOCAL is really a local Carpinteria resident. This person, who seems to have no problems with spelling in general, has repeatedly misspelled "Carpinteria" throughout his well-written, albeit dubious, post.

biguglystick Feb 15, 2020 10:42 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

That could EASILY have been autocorrect on the person's phone. Did ya think about that? Autocorrect has changed some of my words to preposterous hilarious things.

biguglystick Feb 15, 2020 10:42 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

That could EASILY have been autocorrect on the person's phone. Did ya think about that? Autocorrect has changed some of my words to preposterous hilarious things.

yin yang Feb 14, 2020 08:35 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Some thoughts, not on this raid: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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/will/did 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-1581779132 Feb 15, 2020 07:05 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

BRING THE FLOWERS BACK. Nice guy Salud failed South County because he cannot lead, think or act on behalf of constituents. He should have authored a Congressional bill to add a duty to flower imports from outside countries. Das and his sloppy deals and staff choices don’t deserve your vote. It’s not too late.

Carplocal Feb 15, 2020 11:22 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

How would you advise him to bring the flowers back?? Do you think one man can change the entire US trade policy. And its not just a trade policy issue. Its a currency issue. You have to take into account the value of the dollar versus the value of the canadian dollar as well as the value of south american money. There are alot of factors at play when it comes to international trade that one man cannot solve on his own. The best solution they had to save carp's ag tradition was to bring back a flower, Cannabis. Cannabis is just another flower, although its grown with safer and cleaner practices, using no harmful pesticides. And it has been scientifically proven to have incredible medical benefits. The old "reefer madness" stigma is exactly that. An old stigma, proven by scientist in every major country to be false. Why vote against something so good for the economy, so good for the environment, and so good for people who use it as medicine??

a-1581803267 Feb 15, 2020 01:47 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

In our no cow, vegan future bring back lima beans. Used to be #1 crop in Carpinteria. Can't eat pot. Lima beans are the staff of life - pre-Columbian native too. Win-win.

a-1581803409 Feb 15, 2020 01:50 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Not sure why you refer to the old Reefer Madness movie, which few today have ever seen. That line comes from cannabis central casting. Problem today is real -we have seen what pot has done to too many lives in real time. Not good, get gone and take your political hacks with you.

Tee Gee Feb 15, 2020 06:55 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

9577, you make a good point. Unfortunately- and this is a personal observation- Lima beans cause me to fart. Now, I am not of the ilk who consider their effluence to not stink, and through congregation with other humans, I have discovered that many of us suffer the same malady: Lima beans=semi-toxic gas.
Should you carry this observation through to the next step, you will find that there are no current regulations regarding "organic gas". Yet there are a myriad of laws, rules, and regulations regarding the cultivation of pot. Eventually- should the logic continue- the good folks with the munchies will be put-off by the overwhelming odor of ... how shall I phrase this and still remain delicate... put off by this miasma of deleterious gas. This equates to the very same problem the populace now faces, but at least with the organic odors of pot, the local grocery stores, taco stands, convenience stores, and corner stores in general stand to profit.

a-1581780697 Feb 15, 2020 07:31 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Das needs money to support 2 kids. He was bought and paid for before he was groomed to enter politics in his youth. He protects his personal interests, just like Salud, another owned puppet representative. Both are really nice guys. DEM Machine is pleased.

Carplocal Feb 15, 2020 11:14 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Why spread so much hate into the world? Has there ever been a politician in the history of politics who did not take political donations?? You did make one true statement however. "both are really nice guys". Don't we want good people in politics? Look at Das's entire record. He has been involved in the community for a long time and has made great progress on many issues. Dont be fooled by this one script cannabis narrative.

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