Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Raid Arroyo Verde Farms

The news was met with mixed reactions, as some in the area had held Arroyo Verde as an example of the best of what Santa Barbara County could expect from this new industry.

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February 19, 2020

This week, we’re reading this Los Angeles Times feature on a Jan. 22 raid that found evidence of illegal sales and an unlicensed cannabis extraction lab at Arroyo Verde Farms in Santa Barbara County, California. All told, law enforcement found more than 20 pounds of illegally stored and documented cannabis flower and 1,000 pounds of illegally stored and undocumented cannabis oil. 

The news was met with mixed reactions, as some in the area had held Arroyo Verde as an example of the best of what Santa Barbara County could expect from this new industry. “They were considered to be sort of the models,” Bernard Melekian, the county cannabis czar, told the Times. Just four days before the raid, Arroyo Verde hosted a “Community Day” and invited more than 100 local residents to the greenhouse to learn more about the company.

Barry Brand, president of Arroyo Verde Farms, is an influential and wealthy fundraiser in the Carpinteria Valley. He’d helped advocate for the open-door policy with the cannabis industry in the country, and he went on to develop 300,000 square feet of cannabis greenhouse space.

Indeed, others are less surprised at the news and wondering aloud to news reporters whether this raid may trigger closer scrutiny of the region’s politically connected business owners. According to Cannabiz Media, Santa Barbara County has issued 398 cultivation licenses.

The investigation into Arroyo Verde Farms remains ongoing.

Read the Los Angeles Times story here.