Santa Barbara is in a college affordability crisis.
Responsible cannabis cultivation is our solution
Santa Barbara’s college students are facing homelessness, food insecurity, and crippling debt. Our community is facing this basic needs crisis due to a lack of investment in higher education. We can help resolve this issue by using tax revenue from responsible cannabis cultivation to fund basic needs programs in SB County.
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College affordability should not be a barrier to student success
Students in our SB County community are facing a basic needs crisis. One in five of the state’s community college students were homeless in the last year. Nearly half of the state’s community college students experience food insecurity. This problem extends to students at UC Santa Barbara.
Out of more than 250,000 University of California students, 42% identified as food insecure in a 2016 Global Food Initiative report. At UCSB, XXXX students reported being food in secure. That means XXXXX students did not have consistent access to food.
This criss affects student performance. Students who report having lower food security reported having lower GPAs (3.1) than students who are confident in their food security (3.4).
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Use the funding from cannabis cultivation to fund basic needs support programs.
Legal cannabis cultivation is a reliable, sustainable, and effective solution to our college affordability problem. Cannabis cultivation is expected to produce around $25 million in tax revenue each year for SB County. There are over 100 pages of regulations created by the County to ensure that cannabis cultivation will continue to be sustainable and environmentally friendly for years to come. Furthermore, cannabis farming supports the highest wages in the agriculture industry, with a median salary in the US of about $58,000.
Cannabis farming is and will continue to be a reliable source of income for the County. This revenue can and should be used to address the pressing issue of college affordability in our community by funding programs that support basic needs services for students. For example, we could use local cannabis tax revenue to fund scholarships to cover tuition and non-tuition college costs such as books, housing, and transportation.
We Won’t Return to Reefer Madness
Anti-cannabis prohibitionists want to ban all cannabis cultivation in SB County.
These restrictionists still view cannabis farming and consumption as a high crime. They think that cannabis farmers bring in crime, that cannabis cultivation is environmentally unsustainable, and they ultimately view cannabis as detrimental to the wellbeing of our community.
These regressive views disregard the facts.
Criminalizing marijuana consumption would be a draconian return to the War on Drugs. This criminalization would likely have the same detrimental effects of racial injustice, hyper-incarceration, and wasted taxpayer dollars of Nixon’s and Reagan’s War on Drugs.
Criminalization overlooks the positive health benefits of cannabis use like relieving insomnia, anxiety, pain, and epilepsy.
Cannabis cultivation is environmentally friendly. Avocados use more pesticides than cannabis. A gallon of wine takes 870 gallons of water while one pound of cannabis takes 150 gallons of water to produce. Many cannabis farmers in SB county are small scale, locally and family operated farms.
By criminalizing cannabis growth, only illegal operations will exist. These illegal operations would bring in crime and violence to our community. Through legalizing and promoting the responsible production of cannabis, we can avoid all of the problems the regressive policies of the prohibitionists would bring to our community.
Let’s turn toward a better tomorrow
It’s time to use cannabis tax revenue to fight a real community problem: college affordability.
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