Our philosophy on promoting the integration of Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation within these Urban Farms, has always been to make the farms economically viable. If the farm requires charity or subsidies to exist, then the farm is going to spend most of their time looking for that next donation and not tending to the farm. If governments want to incentivize urban farms they need to understand this. It doesn’t matter how much they propose in reducing our property taxes as a way to incentivize new startups if the farms can’t create enough revenue to stay in business. This should not be new information for our policy makers to consider. The data is out there. History has shown that more than 75% of these startups will fail within the first year because they simply can’t generate enough revenue to maintain operations while paying employees a living wage or contend with the myriad of other expenses in order to keep them financially viable.
While property tax incentives, no doubt, do provide some relief from the expenses that contribute to the high percentages these failures, the harsh reality is that it is not enough. When California passed AB-551, the Urban Agriculture Incentives Zone Act (UAIZ), it was to designed to give local governments a tool to incentivize property owners into allowing Urban Farms development with reduced rents as a result of their having had their property taxes reduced. But to those property owners who would enter into one of these UAIZ contracts, it is a carrot and big stick agreement. A UAIZ contract requires the farm to operate for 5 years. If the farm were to cease operations within the agreed upon 5 years then all the tax waivers would have to be paid back. In other words, as a property owner, there is no incentive to get into one of these UAIZ contracts if there is a chance my tenants farm is not going to make it for 5 years. I’ll have to pay back the waived property taxes and I will have lost out on full rental value of the property had I rented to a viable business instead of an Urban Farm. As a social economic experiment UAIZ may work, but in terms of creating laws and ordinances that make Urban Farms economically self sufficient it’s time to consider some of the broader spectrum options we have before us that will make economic sense to property owners and investors.
We must implement social programs that stimulate job creation and provide economic opportunities within communities which have historically and disproportionately been affected by our nation’s drug laws. Our communities need programs that do not rely on handouts and subsidies to exist. Urban Farms must be self sufficient, not subject to having funds cut based on a future political whim. In fact Urban Farms should NOT rely on tax incentives to operate at ALL. The incorporation of Secure Medical Cannabis Cultivation on these farms would not ask for, nor would they need these incentives.
California is blessed with an abundance of grape and cannabis farms. What we don’t have is an abundance of those ‘farm to fork’ or urban gardening opportunities that would help provide for our basic food needs. If/When the ‘Big One’ comes how are we going to feed our cities? The point of a 151 Farm has always been that not only do we need ‘More Gardens Not Less’ but that those gardens need to be diverse and economically sustainable so that they can provide ongoing service to the communities they serve.
Another harsh reality to consider in these discussions is that in California, and the Western States we are rapidly approaching a crisis. This crisis is brought on by steadily increasing demand on steadily decreasing available water supplies. Without water there are no crops. Tax incentives that require the Urban Farm to operate for 5 years are not going to create more water for these farms. Urban Farming is not meant to be a temporary band aid but rather a long term asset that serve our communities into a well fed tomorrow.
Another point of a 151 Farm has been and will always be, that our Urban Farms promote environmentally responsible cultivation techniques that SAVE WATER and REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION. These farms should exist to offer examples within our communities of what we can and must do in order to save our precious natural resources while meeting the needs of our communities. Work with your local governments and elected representatives, to consider the issues being raised here. Help us help them in developing their policies on these issues.
Learn more about the laws that were passed in May 2018 that mandate reduced water consumption levels and the penalties that will apply if they are not met;
Local governments are now in the position to create and implement ordinances which are compatible with their communities needs. 151 Farms has proposed solutions that with intelligent debate and compromise could be tailored to address these issues. Accordingly this section will be updated on a regular basis as to city and county governments that have made their latest positions known on whether or not Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation may be integrated into their urban farming ordinances.
If you are reading this and your city or local government has not yet established their positions and policies on integrating Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation into their list of requirements for urban farming enterprises we ask that you have them do so as soon as possible since time is of the essence.
By clicking the city named in the list below you will then be taken to whatever ordinances they have passed that asserts their official position on this matter.
Cities that APPROVE Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation within Urban Farms
Cities that DENY Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation within Urban Farms