Wednesday, March 23, 2016

2016 Santa Cruz County Cultivators Outreach Nets Lots of Numbers

Jim Coffis

Estimates on the total number of Santa Cruz County Residents who are growing pot vary widely but the first ever survey of local cultivators sheds some light on where, why and how cultivation occurs.

The Santa Cruz County Cultivators Outreach 2016, an anonymous online and paper survey, conducted by a group of Cannabis advocacy groups with cooperation from local dispensaries and garden supply vendors netted over 275 responses and a wealth of information.

70% of respondents say they are growing for their own personal use although many of them also admit to selling their product.  48% indicated they sell or donate product to local collectives or dispensaries and 30% say they sell outside of Santa Cruz County.

Local dispensaries reported $32 million in total sales last year but less than half of the growers indicated that some or all of their crop went to one the 14 approved outlets in the County.

Growers were asked about the approximate number of plants grown with various ranges from less than 10 to more than 1000. and the approximate square footage used to grow, using ranges from less than 100 sq ft to over 5000 sq ft.  Using the most conservative estimates, this group of growers accounted for over 40,000 plants on a combined total of less than 10 acres. 62% grow fewer than 100 plants.


Most respondents were growing outdoors, many in the Santa Cruz Mountains and nearly half in the Fifth Supervisorial district.  Among the largest growers by plant count more than half are in Districts 2 and 4 in the south county.  Overall 42% of all grows are indoors including 64% of the largest..  

Over 50% of indoor and 48% of outdoor grows are on parcels under one acre. 52% of all grows are on parcels zoned R(Residential) or RR (Rural residential).

The County Board of Supervisors will take up new cultivation regulations at a special meeting scheduled for April 12.  The appointed citizens committee (C4) formed to provide recommendations will begin finalizing their report at a special meeting on March 30th, time and place yet to be announced.

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