Cannabis tax revenues continue to increase in Santa Barbara County, with a reported $4.2 million received in the financial quarter that ended Sept. 30.
Fiscal analyst Steven Yee of the County Executive Office said that represents a 50% increase in revenue collected for the same quarter in 2019.
“Tax revenues remain strong despite the current economic climate,” Yee told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday during a report on cannabis tax collection, permitting and enforcement.
The county oversees the local cannabis industry, including cultivation, processing, distribution and retail businesses.
Yee said the county approved 18 business licenses last quarter, mostly for cultivation and nursery operations.
“The licensing team remains hard at work processing the pending applications and also processing renewal license applications for those operators that we licensed last year,” he said, noting that cannabis business licenses are valid for only one year and must be renewed annually.
Assistant County Executive Officer Barney Melekian said the county has received 21 applications for storefront dispensary licenses, and the selection process should be finished in early 2021.
For the upcoming quarter, the county hopes to phase out any cannabis grows located within developed rural neighborhoods, make the business licensing process more efficient and amend the business license ordinance, he said.