Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of articles presented by the Record Bee spotlighting community directors serving on the Lake County Chamber of Commerce board. This week’s feature is written by Bobby Dutcher. He is a lifelong Lake County resident and the owner/broker of Wine Country Land and Ranches. Dutcher has a Bachelor of Science degree from CSUS in Real Estate and Land Use Affairs and has served on numerous County appointed committees.
Cannabis has quietly become the No. 2 agricultural crop in Lake County. It is an agricultural crop, it’s a plant grown with the sole intention of human consumption, CalCannabis (state office that handles permitting) is a division of the State Food and Agriculture Department, and in four years when this is legal at the federal level (you heard it here first) it will be regulated by the FDA.
A recent Ag Commissioner’s report listed pears as our No. 2 crop in 2017 with a gross value of $27 million. In 2018, more pear acreage was removed to be converted into vineyards, so this amount will be lower now. Industry leaders tell me that it is possible to grow 3,000 pounds of flower on an acre of outdoor cultivation, and if it passes the stringent testing required by the State can generate $1,000 a pound. There were approximately 10 acres licensed here last year ( with a possible gross value of $30 million), this year looks like 25 acres, if those numbers are correct in 2018 cannabis surpassed pears and will be closing in on wine grapes this year. In 2015 Lake County had close to 400 acres of black market canopy. If we permit just half of that at inspected sites Measure C taxes can exceed $10 million per year. That is a good